New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones injured his right hamstring in a win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 29, sprained his ankle in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 13, and never looked the same while playing in the final two games of the season.
Fans and analysts criticized coach Joe Judge and others within the Giants for playing the 23-year-old when he was clearly less than 100%, and it appears those individuals may have been right.
"Look, Daniel is the last guy that’s going to use anything as an excuse," Judge said during Monday's appearance on "The Michael Kay Show," per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. "What I would say about the injury last year is it was much more serious than maybe people thought on the outside. I would say probably 90% of players in the league who would have had that injury, including quarterbacks, would have been on IR for the remainder of the year. That’s just the reality of it. It was much more severe than maybe he allowed people to know or the information that was put out there, and we’re going to protect our players by not disclosing everything about their injuries to be honest with you. He fought through a lot of things. He earned a lot of people’s respect."
The Washington Football Team won the NFC East crown with a lowly 7-9 record, but the Giants fell to 5-9 on the season following a loss to the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 20 and had nearly zero chance of winning anything of note in January. Rushing Jones back into action was not a risk worth taking, but that might not be the case if he's slowed for any reason this coming December.
Jones entered the NFL via the 2019 draft, meaning the Giants have 12 months to make a decision on the fifth-year option attached to his rookie contract.