Mailbag! How do the New York Giants truly view Daniel Jones?
Fantastic submissions, everyone. The 1991 Lions, like Buffalo, suffered tragedy on the field. We call Erik Kramer to relive that moment. And will Brian Daboll keep his quarterback options open in NY?
One of the greatest comebacks (collapses?) in NFL history is all of seven hours old so we can safely assume Sean Payton has set up shop at Chargers HQ. Nameplate on the desk, visor on his head, he’s back.
What was that?
You’re forgiven if you dozed off at 27-0. Nothing was going right for the Jacksonville Jaguars at home against the Los Angeles Chargers. Then, Trevor Lawrence turned it on. After throwing four picks, Lawrence threw four touchdowns and the Jaguars advanced to the second round of the playoffs with a 31-30 win that’ll certainly have Chargers ownership wondering if Brandon Staley is the right head coach for Justin Herbert.
Meltdowns like this get people fired… especially when a Super Bowl-winner is making the interview rounds.
Meanwhile, Brock Purdy is everything LaVar Ball claimed to be — undefeated, nevah lost, the lowest-drafted quarterback in NFL history to start and win a playoff game. Nobody’s holding his hand, either. Purdy is the first rookie quarterback with four total touchdowns in a playoff game. The 49ers liquefied Seattle in the second half.
Next up? Bills-Dolphins, Giants-Vikings and Bengals-Ravens with Buccaneers-Cowboys on Monday night.
If you’re looking for something to read over that Sunday coffee, here are your mailbag questions answered. We look back at another tragedy on the field with ex-NFL quarterback Erik Kramer, examine Daniel Jones’ future in New York, take a stab at Chicago’s intentions with that No. 1 pick and predict who'll be next year’s version of Geno Smith.
Stories this week, icymi:
Also, I’ll be opening up a chat thread inside the Substack app so we can hang out during the games. Join right here if you’d like:
With Hamlin being such a rally point for the team, it reminds me of when Mike Utley was paralyzed in 1991 and the Lions did the “thumbs up” rally cry. Do you know how players on that team dealt with his injury and how they rallied around it?
Given the fact that we had zero frame of reference for Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest, this is such a good question. There is no parallel for a teammate receiving CPR to come back to life on the field, but Mike Utley’s scary situation may be as close as we get in terms of raw shock. That ’91 Lions team is one of the best in franchise history, too. They finished 12-4, earned a first-round bye and crushed the Dallas Cowboys 38-6 in the divisional round before losing to Washington in the NFC Championship. Two years later, they again won the NFC Central and haven’t won the division in the 29 years since.
Which makes that ’91 season so fascinating.
Thanks for giving me an excuse to call Erik Kramer, the quarterback of that Lions team. For those new’ish to Go Long, Kramer’s story will blow your mind. (Here’s the three-part series.)
Kramer remembers this moment vividly. His thoughts in full are below. Something this traumatic can pull a team together.
“When Mike got carted off and gave that thumbs up, I didn’t know he was paralyzed. I didn’t think anybody did. I was on the field and it happened during the play. But what happened with his life is there’s never been a day where he’s not been paralyzed. That was 31 years ago. So, he’s been paralyzed longer than he wasn’t.”
“We found out later that night and the next morning. A number of us went to visit him in the hospital. But I will say this about Mike, there’s been no shift in his mental outlook in life. And here’s a guy who literally the last two, three, four years nearly died at least six or seven times. From various infections. Maybe four’ish years ago, somebody contacted me about this doctor in Scottsdale that was doing stem-cell therapy injections. I had them. Been out there once or twice. And I let him back then know about Mike. He said, ‘Wow. It’s amazing he’s still alive.’ Mike is a big guy anyway. He’s like 6-5. He’s not fat but he’s big. This doctor was saying, because of his weight and not ever really getting up and moving, the pressure on his organs is insane. Every day.”
“You never want to use someone’s tragedy as ‘That’s what’s motivating you.’ But the forces of nature conspire and you can’t help but acknowledge this is part of what’s going on. Mind you, that was an incredible roster we had yet we still got blown out by Washington. Once at the beginning of the season. Once to end it. They were just that good. But living through it — everyone around Mike Utley — I think, yeah, there was something in addition. It’s like the side car in a motorcycle. It’s something in addition to what’s going on.”
“That was a young team. I think it was sobering to everybody. What it did was pull everybody together and eliminate whatever barriers there might’ve been. In the moment, I didn’t see it that way. We all hung out more than we would have.”
Do you know, or have you heard if Daniel Jones is really "The Guy" that Daboll and Schoen have chosen to lead the franchise? The Media (especially in New York) have been reporting this like it's a done deal. They use the past two games as proof that Jones has become the Franchise QB the team drafted him to be. While he played very well in those games, they were against two of the worst defenses in the NFL. The Colts have some talent, but they were missing a few of their best players. It also seemed like they were quick to give up once the Giants took a two-score lead.
Anyone who has watched the Giants this year can see the improvement Jones has made. Some of that has to do with him not playing in an antiquated scheme anymore, and some of it has to do with him seeing the field better than he has at any point of his career so far.
Personally, I trust Daboll and Schoen. I think they will make the best decision on Jones (even with Mara's slight interference). I was just wondering what you have heard about the situation.
Always here for Daniel Jones talk. We tried to analyze all angles two weeks ago with “Is Daniel Jones the future?” and thank you to all of the New York Giants who found their way to Go Long.
This remains one of the most compelling figures in pro football because Jones is whatever you want him to be.
There’s a good case to be made that Jones is the answer, warrants a big deal and New York needs to go all in. There’s a good case that he’s been maxed out by Brian Daboll, and if the Giants want to seriously contend they’ll need to upgrade at some point. The beauty of this all right now — as I type this anyways — is that the future is in Jones’ hands. If he shines through the playoffs, Jones can clear things up for everyone.
Here’s my hunch…