Sure, the Giants love a great deal about Daniel Jones, but, quite frankly, they don’t care much what he says this week, because they know he cannot be trusted.
And so, asking the 23-year-old quarterback if he feels strong enough to play Sunday against the Cardinals, well, that is not really a question that is going to be asked with any great conviction.
The Giants know Jones, dealing with a strained right hamstring, is not a completely reliable source of information.
“We’re optimistic,’’ head coach Joe Judge said Wednesday. “I know he’s gonna tell us everything we want to hear. We’ve got to use our eyes instead of our ears with Daniel.’’
What is seen will prove to be more accurate than what is heard from Jones. He wanted to play last week in Seattle and was shut down, as Judge and the medical staff did not believe Jones could protect himself on the field. There is an injury there, not merely a tweak.
Jones is not a rock-the-boat guy, but he did not fess up when asked if he will indeed tell the powers that be the truth regarding his physical status.
“I always want to play and I’ll continue to communicate that,’’ he said. “My goal is to play every week.’’
If the Giants in any way, shape or form believe Jones can do harm to himself by playing this weekend, he will not play. Even though they are riding a four-game winning streak and, at 5-7, lead the NFC East in a tiebreaker over Washington.
They know how important he is, now and in the future, are sold on him as their franchise quarterback and are not going to rush anything, as far as taking any risk.
This is not only Judge’s edict. The front office and ownership are also in on this. Everyone wants Jones to play, but no one will sign off on it until they see what they need to see.
Career backup Colt McCoy started in place of Jones last week in Seattle and did just enough to help the Giants upset the Seahawks, 17-12.
“Some injuries are worse than others,’’ McCoy said. “We’ve all played through a lot of things. DJ’s dealing with a hamstring, if he feels like he can go, he’ll go. He’s a competitor, he’s a captain, he wants to be out there so bad. This is killing him.’’
Guilty as charged. This is killing him.
“Yeah, it’s tough not playing, it’s tough missing time,’’ Jones said.
On a chilled and slightly snowy early afternoon, Jones did not do much during a 75-minute walk-through practice that was never going to offer more than a glimpse into how his right leg is responding. Jones stretched with the team and that was about it, estimated as being a limited participant had this been a full deal. Jones was not really close to playing in Seattle. He is closer this week, but there is no doubt he is not 100 percent.
“Thursday we’ll be on the field moving around and Friday will be a big day for us to make a final decision, hopefully, going into the weekend,’’ Judge said.
The Giants were not in pads on Wednesday, but there were reps to be taken. McCoy said there was not clear indication at the start if he was up first on offense.
“It wasn’t communicated that well, to be honest,’’ McCoy said.
“I think it’s all based on how DJ feels, right?’’ McCoy said. “I think he’s feeling better and we’ll see how it goes throughout the week.’’
Jones acknowledged the injury he sustained in the third quarter Nov. 29 in Cincinnati is improving but the issue is also still there, which is why he says, “Just trying to get this thing healed up.’’
“Coach is talking about being able to move in the game and situations you can’t predict,’’ Jones said. “When you’re getting pressure and have to make sudden movements, whether that’s getting upfield or moving forward to get the ball out, situations like that.’’
He knows just what to show — and not tell — Judge
This is about many things for Jones, most of all responsibility. He is the quarterback and a team captain, after all. In his mind, he must show he is tough enough to handle this.
“Just wanting to compete, wanting to be out there and play with my teammates — I take a lot of pride in that part of the game,’’ Jones said. “I think it’s important at any position, particularly the quarterback position, to be someone who can withstand physical or mental whatever it is and show toughness across the board. That’s something I try to do.’’