The changing of the guard is complete in New York football now that Daniel Jones has sent Eli Manning to the New York Giants’ bench and Sam Darnold seems to be the quarterback of the New York Jets going forward. With the battle lines already being draw with Blue and Green paint, footballs fans are debating: Who will have a better career, Daniel Jones or Sam Darnold?
It is likely that New York has not seen both team football teams as the same crossroads as they do right now. Sure, it took a while for Phil Simms to establish himself as the quarterback that Bill Parcels wanted and needed in the mid-1980s while Ken O’Brien was trying to outduel fellow QB Class of 1983 Draft member Dan Marino, but with each team starting quarterbacks who’s playing time can be measured in games, not full seasons, for the Giants and Jets, the future starts now.
Rex Ryan was one of the first to jump on the Daniel Jones bandwagon after his come from behind win against Tampa Bay, proclaiming that the sixth pick in this year’s NFL Draft out of Duke was more fundamentally sound than Darnold is coming out of the University of Southern California. “I love Sam Darnold, don’t get me wrong. I still think he’s going to be a tremendous player.” Ryan said last month. “But I think this guy right here [Jones] has got competitive greatness in him. I think he’s going to be a superstar.”
The stories of Jones and Darnold will always be linked; that’s because the New York Giants could have drafted the current Jets quarterback in 2018, choosing instead to take Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the second pick last year, and allowing the Jets to take who they felt was the best quarterback left on the board after Baker Mayfield went first overall to the Cleveland Browns.
Early on, both Daniel Jones and Sam Darnold have had impressive moments despite not having the best offensive talents around them. With that said (and as much as it pains me to say this as a Jets fan), Jones looks like he is in a better system for his talents, which is why the Giants took him higher than everyone, even their fans thought he should go in this year’s draft. It is hard for even the best of quarterback (looking at you Tom Brady) to perform their best when the players around them have a steep drop off in talent from them.
For now, however, with his health still in tack, Daniel Jones looks like he is on track, with a better coach behind him, to have a better career than Sam Darnold. I say that in part because I don’t think Adam Gase is going to survive in New York and probably should not have been hired by the New York Jets so soon after being fired by the Miami Dolphins. With Gase likely out the door before Pat Shurmur gives up his whistle with the Giants, Jones, at least for the first few years will have a better career than Darnold; and when the Jets hire their next head coach for the 2021 or 2022 season, we will have a better chance to know if the team’s current quarterback will have a better career in New York, who with whichever team picks him up after the new coach drafts his own quarterback.