Daniel Jones spent offseason getting chiseled, improving his game
By Jordan Raanan, ESPN.com
“He’s chiseled up. He’s put good definition on his body,” said Anthony Boone, a mentor from QB Country North Carolina, who worked with Jones this spring.
Boone later added: “I think he’s going to shock the league and be huge for the Giants this year.”
It won’t come without a price. In this case, Jones paid it in sweat equity.
The work began a few weeks after the 2019 season ended. Jones trained with his personal quarterback coach David Morris and then his former college coach David Cutcliffe. Jones even brought some of his Giants teammates to Duke for workouts days after Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
This was just the beginning. Jones spent time working with QB Country New Jersey’s Mickey Brueckner and throwing to some teammates, including receiver Sterling Shepard and Barkley, before everything came to a screeching halt.
But not even the pandemic was going to slow down the No. 6 overall pick from 2019. Jones pivoted and went to work at home in Charlotte, North Carolina, when the country went into lockdown. A starting quarterback making a seven-figure salary went back to living in his childhood home and trained with the same intensity he did while trying to become a high school starter. He hit the weights there until pandemic restrictions loosened enough for him to move elsewhere.
So, when Jones was throwing, Boone would be poking at the ball, ripping at his wrist, trying to wrestle the ball away. Anything to simulate a 6-foot-6, 300-pound defender with a 7-foot wingspan.
This was at Jones’ request, and it never seemed to be enough. He wanted more.
“Hey, can we do the same movement and you just put your hands up and get in my face?” Jones would ask Boone. “Or just bump me a little bit? Or just throw something at my legs? Go kind of low. Don’t let me step into my throw. Kind of grab my knee before I can stride and make me use my hips.”
It was this little stuff that made these workouts different from anything Jones had done in the past. He was aware of the deficiency and wanted to make sure he improved.
“Obviously, that was a big focal point for us throughout a lot of drills,” Boone said.
When Jones got the Giants’ playbook in mid-April, he began incorporating it into his workouts. It became part of his routine to call out formations and plays, pretend to break the huddle, go to the line, look through his progressions and call out the middle linebacker.
The thinking was this would help with the transition during the virtual offseason. Morris would help draw up the daily script by recalling installs, simulating plays and talking through concepts. Anything they could think of to produce the slightest advantage.
“Daniel Jones is a freaking grinder. He loves the grind,” said Boone, who has worked with Jones since the mentee arrived at Duke. “He was constantly kind of on my ass about, ‘Hey, let’s get into this. Let’s do this and do that.’ I was like, ‘Maybe let’s take a break today.’ He would be like, ‘Nah, I’m good. Let’s go!’
“I was like, ‘All right, you know your body. I’m going to listen to you. If you want to work, I’ll provide it for you. But let’s be smart about how we do it.’