Daniel Jones could be this fall’s lone hope at quarterback for New York football, not just Giants football.
The QB situation at MetLife Stadium on Sunday was bleak.
Giants backup Tyrod Taylor left the game on a cart with a back injury after a huge hit by Jets edge Micheal Clemons.
Coach Brian Daboll said “Tyrod should be OK,” but the exact nature of the injury isn’t clear.
“I don’t think there’s anything,” Daboll said. “He just landed hard. Talked to him at halftime and he said he’s ok.”
Second-year Jets starter Zach Wilson is hurt, recovering from arthroscopic surgery on a torn meniscus and a bone bruise in his right knee.
His planned date of return is unknown. His preseason play before the injury did not inspire confidence. The Jets’ schedule is a gauntlet, too.
Jets backup Joe Flacco, the presumed Week 1 starter, threw a disgusting interception that was returned for a touchdown by Giants backup linebacker Austin Calitro.
It was a reminder that there is no reason to feel secure approaching the Sept. 11 season opener against the Baltimore Ravens.
The NFL is a quarterback league.
The teams with stars at the position win, thrive and find ways to believe in the face of adversity. The clubs without QB stability get left in the dust.
The Giants are rebuilding, trying to turn around Jones’ career or at least lay the foundation for his successor.
The Jets are further along. They took Wilson No. 2 overall in last year’s draft. They’ve added pieces. Now it’s time to start turning the corner.
But neither team’s quarterback situation inspires confidence that 2022 is going to be a year to remember – unless, of course, Jones takes the next step. But unless Jones, who sat out Sunday’s preseason finale, overcomes the injuries and obstacles around and in front of him, that is a major ask.
Taylor is here to provide insurance if that doesn’t happen, and to possibly serve as a bridge to next year’s rookie draft pick if Jones falters.
GM Joe Schoen signed Taylor to a two-year, $11 million contract with $10.9 million guaranteed in free agency for a reason: he’s a good fit for this offense, and his presence creates a bit more security that the Giants can function if Jones gets hurt or trips up.
But Sunday provided a scare to Taylor’s availability, as well.
Taylor started the game and was under constant duress playing behind an offensive line of mostly backups, with the exception of center Jon Feliciano. He threw an early interception.
Then Taylor got hurt with about two minutes left in the first quarter, rolling out to his right away from pressure.
Clemons charged from Taylor’s left and clothesline tackled Taylor to the turf as the QB completed a 25-yard pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger.
Taylor was down on the ground for a long while being examined by trainers. He eventually jogged off the field under his own power.
But the second he reached the sideline, he dropped to the turf again. He struggled to walk into the blue medical tent. And eventually he was carted into the locker room.
Taylor did not conduct a postgame interview. He did return to the team’s sideline in the second half in shorts and a T-shirt. So at least he was out there.
But as much as Sunday’s Davis Webb-Chris Streveler duel provided entertainment to cap the preseason, the regular season looms with both the Giants and Jets having enormous questions at quarterback.
And history shows that teams with questions at QB typically struggle to earn consistent wins.