Photo: Daniel Jones
Anyone following Daniel Jones wasn’t surprised he dismissed Baker Mayfield’s cheap shot with a classy response. Jones learned more than football under the tutelage of Duke coach and quarterback guru David Cutcliffe.
“He’s not going to be distracted,” said Cutcliffe after a recent Duke practice about the attention focused on Jones as the sixth pick of the first round by the New York Giants.
“That’s what I told his dad. He’s got such character he’s not going to get carried away and be distracted. If he is fortunate, he will watch Eli (Manning) have his best year he ever had and that will thrill me. (Jones) will get better every day.”
Mayfield, the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner and Cleveland Browns’ quarterback, was quoted in a GQ magazine story that went viral on the Internet.
“I can’t believe the Giants took Daniel Jones,” Mayfield said. “Blows my mind.”
Jones response when asked later in the day: “I think he’s a great player. He can throw it and I really enjoy watching him play.”
Mayfield’s criticism cited Jones’ 17-19 record as a starting quarterback in three seasons. The suggestion was a quarterback’s winning record, which Baker Mayfield was at Oklahoma after he transferred from Texas Tech, determines first-round status. The best push back on Mayfield’s grading scale came from Fox TV/radio commentator Colin Cowherd:
“Tim Tebow was 35-6, Colt McCoy 45-8, Kellen Moore 50-3 and A.J. McCarron 36-4. You know who didn’t win in college? Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Matt Ryan.”
Cowherd added Oklahoma quarterback Jason White, the 2003 Heisman winner, wasn’t drafted. Josh Huepel, the 2000 Heisman runner-up, was a sixth-round pick that never made an NFL roster.
At Duke, Jones grew his game under Cutcliffe, a quarterback guru who was Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning’s offensive coordinator at Tennessee and Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning’s head coach at Ole Miss,
Jones’ first year on campus as Duke’s scout team quarterback, Duke’s defensive backs praised his NFL arm. But in his three seasons as a starter, Jones played behind offensive lines that struggled to protect him, especially on blitzes. He also was the victim of numerous dropped balls.
That diminished his wins as well as statistics, but Jones never pointed his finger at his teammates. Despite the lack of Heisman-caliber production, the Giants were among the teams that liked what they saw on film from the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from Charlotte Latin.
The Giants’ selection of Jones has been criticized since draft day.
“I’m not surprise that people had the reaction they did,” Cutcliffe said, “That’s sports, particularly in our great northeast. Here is what I knew about Daniel and what I tried to explain to (the pro scouts) in this whole evaluation. You will have a player that prepares incredibly well. He is talented. They can see what they want in his talent; all that stuff about arm strong ad whatever.
“He prepares to the nth degree. It was fun to say he is going to prepare like Eli and they understand that. If you’ve been around Peyton and Eli there is a great deal of talent, but they separate themselves with their pinpoint, laser-like preparation. Daniel Jones has that. It won’t all be good, but I can promise you it won’t be because h was not prepared.”
* * *
I invite you to follow me on Twitter @shanny4055
Tom Shanahan, Author: Raye of Light http://tinyurl.com/knsqtqu
— Book on Michigan State’s leading role in the integration of college football. It explains Duffy Daugherty’s untold pioneering role and debunks myths that steered recognition away from him to Bear Bryant.
http://www.shanahan.report/a/forty-four-underground-railroad-legacy-facts David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize winner and biographer; “History writes people out of the story. It’s our job to write them back in.”