John Feliciano has seen more than seven NFL seasons as an offensive lineman for the Raiders and Bills — the development of Derek Carr and one of the sport’s biggest stars, Josh Allen. So as the Giants’ first-string center and leading scholar in coach Brian Daboll’s dogma, Feliciano seemed in a good place to gauge Daniel Jones’ 2022 ride.
Assuming there is an uphill climb.
As Feliciano stood in the middle of the Giants’ locker room five days before Tennessee’s season opener, he asked the fourth-year quarterback if he thought he could be a star in this league.
“Yes, 100 percent,” Feliciano told the Post. “It’s his work ethic, and he’s extremely accurate with the ball. He’s obviously not as athletic as Josh. I think Josh is probably the most athletic quarterback in the league. But Daniel can definitely run, and he definitely has a great arm. So I’m excited to see what he can do this year.
Anyone who cares about football in this market knows the book on Jones. He’s lost 25 of 37 starts, is coming off a serious neck injury, and has gone through more coaches and staff members than anyone can count.
Oh, and Feliciano’s former colleagues in Buffalo — Daboll and general manager Joe Shawn — decided not to pick up Jones’ fifth-year option.
Yes, it’s true that a rookie head coach and rookie GM raved about the quarterback’s professionalism and passion.
“It’s very difficult,” Daboll said Tuesday. “He’s always here. It’s more on the quiet side, but it’s extremely competitive. I think he is a good leader.
Good luck getting anyone in the Giants’ facility to say anything negative about Jones. Before last season, co-owner John Mara said he viewed the sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft as a quarterback who would eventually win a Super Bowl.
“I can say that without hesitation,” Mara explained to the Post. Asked if he thought Eli Manning’s style was good enough for Jones to win multiple Super Bowls, he replied, “If we put the right pieces around him, I don’t see why I wouldn’t.”
The Giants in 2011 After failing to put those pieces in place in 2021, Mara blamed the organization for “doing everything they could to thwart this kid from the moment he was here.”
But it was a generous assessment of the situation in favor of Jones, who deserved his share of the blame. Although Mara, Shawn and Daboll can say all the positive and defensive things they want about the quarterback, the actions taken by the representatives of the public are always clearer than the words spoken by the representatives of the public.
Mara, Shawn and Daboll had the opportunity to guarantee Jones’ job through the 2023 season, and they took a pass. You don’t need to know more than that.
That’s the bottom line with Jones, and every starter at his position: If the quarterback can’t reasonably draw a Lombardi Trophy before his prime, you should look for another.
Manning went 11-5 and won the rookie division championship in his first full year as a rookie, and while things were tough for him, it wasn’t hard to imagine him being good enough to win a championship at some point. Are we in Buffalo? Drawing winning pairs is now much easier.
That’s where Jones should be at the end of this year, if he wants to convince his recruiters they don’t need to draft a top-gun college quarterback to take his spot. As Mara did in the spring of 2021, he clearly needs to stay on the field and play effectively for Sean and Daboll to paint as a future Super Bowl winner.
Is this a viable idea?
“He works his tail off, I’ll tell you,” Feliciano said. He’s always in the weight room or getting extra meetings and grabbing guys and picking their brains and telling them he wants things going. He’s just a great leader. I didn’t know much about him before I came here, but he really impressed me.
“When I first got to Buffalo, Josh wasn’t the Josh he is now. I’d say Josh and Daniel were probably in the same position. … A year ago, Josh was running for his life and taking a lot of shots. When I got there with a lot of guys, we gave him the confidence to stay in it and do what he does.
“So I think it’s the same with Daniel. He had to deal with different things, different coaches, different line coaches, different guys playing on the line. But once he gets some consistency, I think he’ll show everyone what he can do.
On Tuesday, Jones called Daboll’s system “a great fit for any quarterback.” This season, against the odds, Jones should be friendly enough to make him a future champion.
Anything less will result in a cut.