Why NY Giants QB Daniel Jones is key to run game vs. Washington Football Team on TNF

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Daniel Jones rushes against the Philadelphia Eagles
Daniel Jones rushes against the Philadelphia Eagles

Heading into their matchup with the Washington Football Team on Thursday night, it's imperative that the Giants try to establish a run game.

Why? With a formidable Washington front seven, establishing the run doesn't allow them to get as aggressive as they want. Linebackers must be wary of who might be rushing, and it opens up different areas of the game, especially play-action passes. Also, Chase Young and Montez Sweat will have to worry about their edges instead of strictly getting into the backfield and getting to the quarterback.

Speaking of the quarterback, that's the key to getting things going in the run game.

Unfortunately for the Giants in Week 1, they couldn't get anything going on that front in their loss to the Denver Broncos.

On 20 attempts from all Giants, only 60 rushing yards ended up on the stat sheet. In his first game back on the gridiron in a year, Saquon Barkley's workload wasn't tremendous. He had just 26 yards on 10 carries, which isn't at all what fans expect when No. 26 gets the ball in his hands.

Coming off a short week with Barkley trying to get used to playing once again, the odds are he won't have a breakout game. The Giants might not allow him to, as they were very conservative with his snap count in Week 1.

So how can the Giants get things going on the ground with Barkley trying to find his way again? Daniel Jones.

The third-year quarterback has proven he can get things done with his legs. Last season, he was ranked seventh in rushing yards among quarterbacks with 423. But he had significantly fewer rush attempts than those above him -- he had 65 and Russell Wilson is the closest to him at 83.

Of course, Jones broke out that infamous rush against the Philadelphia Eagles where his feet couldn't hold up with his body, and he tumbled to the turf just before scoring. But he can certainly beat linebackers to the sideline and pick up yardage if he's asked to do so.

That's why offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, who needs to call a much better game than he did in Week 1, needs to work Jones into his plans for the run. Read options, which Jones was performing last season, are the best way to do so. It makes defenders wait that extra second or two to see who has the ball, and in doing so, the offensive line has more time to make blocks and Jones can survey for the right call to make: keep it or give it to the halfback.

But we can't talk about Jones rushing without discussing the fumble issue, which will continue to be a story until he doesn't make it one. In Week 1, he did tuck and run as the Giants were pushing downfield and he fumbled in the red zone -- another costly turnover.

In that moment, Jones needed to slide. Plain and simple. So, if he's given the nod to rush, he needs to keep in mind where he is on the field and who's charging at him to get a tackle. That eliminates the fumble... at least you'd think it does.

The Giants need something to change after their disastrous start to the new year, and this could be the change. Maybe even Barkley shows out tonight and lets everyone know he's back and ready to take defenders' ankles again. But Devontae Booker and Gary Brightwell aren't going to give you too much when the Pro Bowl back is off the field.

Either way, the offense needs a run game against this Washington defense, or it's free hunting for Ron Rivera's crew all night long. And they're hungry after a bad Week 1 themselves.

If it's not Barkley, the Giants should look toward Jones to make that happen.

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