Daniel Jones and the Giants hope bigger is better.
No one knows for sure when Jones will actually step onto the field for a training camp practice. At the earliest, it will be the very end of July, perhaps later than that if the coronavirus continues to intrude and disrupt. Whenever Jones finally gets going for his second NFL season, he will look somewhat different, if you look closely.
“He will look more cut-up,’’ Anthony Boone told The Post.
Boone, employed by QB Country, has worked extensively this off-season with Jones and has seen the results of extra time hitting the weights. Jones, a statuesque 6-foot-5, weighed 220 pounds as a rookie. He did not actually look skinny; more so thinly-framed.
Daniel Jones 2.0 is closer to 230 pounds. Boone did not see Jones get on a scale recently but estimates he gained as much as eight pounds. Now then, reporting weight gain during the COVID-19 pandemic is about as newsworthy as noting humidity in the summer and wind chill in the winter. For Jones, though, this was part of the plan. He lived back home in Charlotte, N.C. with his parents, two sisters and one brother and obviously was able to elbow in at the dinner table aggressively enough to ingest what he needed to put on the pounds.
“He’s done a good job of putting together a good physique,’’ Boone said. “At the end of the day he wanted to get stronger and get a little more meat on his bones but still maintain being able to run and move around and being on the field the whole time. Not ‘I’ve put on too much weight and I get short-winded now.’ His thing was make sure he could stay mobile, agile and be out on the field the whole time.’’
Boone, like Jones a former Duke quarterback, said Jones “did not eat a lot of crap’’ and gained weight smartly, increasing his lifting regime to get bigger, and stronger. After those sweaty throwing sessions in the North Carolina sun, the results of Jones’ efforts can be seen.
“When he’s out there and he takes his shirt off or he’s wearing a cut-off or wearing whatever, you can tell physically he’s gotten better,’’ Boone said. “He’s taking care of his body, for sure.
“He really put some work in to make sure he’s a professional athlete and he’s taking care of his body. He’s doing all the right things.’’
There is more to this than looking buff at the beach. Jones showed his athletic prowess in his very first NFL start, running seven yards for the game-winning touchdown with 1:16 remaining Week 3 in Tampa. Throughout his first NFL season, Jones displayed mobility, the ability to escape pressure and toughness. He also fumbled the ball 18 times, losing Giants’ possession 11 times, and missed two games dealing with a high ankle sprain. Stronger and bulkier is never a bad thing, as long as it does not reduce movement and flexibility.
Jones turned 23 on May 27 and his body will naturally fill out. He wanted to accelerate the pace. Eli Manning back in 2004 came to the Giants as a 6-foot-5, 220-pound rookie and the thinking at the time was he could use to add some weight. He never did. Manning retired after the 2019 season listed at 218 pounds. He actually looked leaner and more fit when he left than when he arrived 16 years earlier.
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Boone is the only Duke quarterback to put together back-to-back nine-win seasons and is the winningest quarterback in school history, with 19 wins as a starter (Jones has 17). Boone, Jones and David Morris are disciples of David Cutcliffe, who coached Boone and Jones at Duke and Morris at Ole Miss. Morris operates QB Country, based in Mobile, Ala., and Boone estimates he’s worked with Jones at least 20 times this spring and summer in Charlotte.
The added weight has already produced tangible results.
“For one, as a quarterback, being able to take hits a little bit better – you have a little bit more muscle so you’re a little heavier,’’ Boone said. “You put that muscle mass on means you’re looking at a little bit more leg-drive on some throws. More velocity. Or being able to push the ball down the field a little bit further.
“Those little gains, everybody wants to be able to put on good muscle mass and good weight and still remain the same speed and the workload on the soft tissue and joints and ankles and knees, to be able to maintain it and handle it. I think he did a good job of that.’’
The results will be seen starting later this summer, when the more muscular Daniel Jones hopes to show bigger is indeed better.