After the 38-7 loss, Giants coach Brian Daboll says the team has “grounded.”
Barkley, who had contract talks with the team during the week, made it clear he wanted to return.
“I don’t want to jump to conclusions. I’ve said how I feel and where I want to be,” he said. “That’s out of my control. I wanted to show the Giants that the guy they picked is still here. I hope I did that.
“Everybody knows I’d like to be a Giant for the rest of my life. But I really can’t give a 100% answer. It’s out of my control. This week, I’ll have an interview with my agent, Kim. [Miale] and see what happens.’
Jones left his desire as more of a mystery. The Giants declined the fifth-year option on his rookie deal before this season, which was the best of his young career.
“Like I said, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I really enjoyed playing here,” Jones said. “I appreciate all those guys in the locker room. It’s a special group of guys and I’ve really enjoyed being a part of it.
“We’ll figure out where that goes, but I have nothing but love and respect for this organization and the group of guys in the locker room.”
Jones and the Giants trailed 28-0 in the first half Saturday night. They never really launched.
Jones only threw for 135 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions against the Eagles. He was pressured on 64% of his dropbacks in the first half, tied for the third-highest percentage of any quarterback in the middle of a playoff game since ESPN began tracking pressures in 2009.
It was such an evening. Barkley had just nine carries for 61 yards.
“Well, landing here. Give Philly credit. They did everything better than us [Saturday]” said Daboll. “Tough game. We were really beaten in every aspect, so it wasn’t one thing in particular. It was a team game, and we didn’t succeed. Cheers to Philly. They move on and unfortunately they don’t.”
It doesn’t take away from what the Giants accomplished in Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen’s first year. The duo inherited a franchise that had five straight double-digit losing seasons. The Giants and Jets were tied for the worst record of any team over the previous five years.
Jones and Barkley were back. Dabollen and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka’s offense played the best football of their careers as team leaders and captains.
Judging by the way the team has talked about them in recent weeks, it seems like the Giants want him back. The Giants have been vocal about Barkley and see him as the face of their franchise. Co-owner John Mara recently talked about how “thrilling” it was to see Jones live up to his draft status.
Jones, Duke’s No. 6 tight end in 2019, had just nine turnovers in 18 games, including the playoffs. He finished the regular season in the top 10 in QBR.
Barkley, meanwhile, had a career-best 1,312 yards while getting his first playoff touchdown. It was the first postseason appearance for most of the roster.
“It’s awesome, this was a fun team. The guys here, the coaches, everything we were able to build this year,” Barkley said. “The way we played each other this year was special. Obviously, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to end. Not just because of the record or because we made the playoffs, this is probably one of my favorite teams of all time.”
Daboll was not about to make a big statement about the future of some of its biggest names and best players. That will happen in what he described as a long season that sits on the horizon.
The time of these conversations was not Saturday night. It would be on the road. Daboll was still processing what went down on the field in Philadelphia rather than assessing the team’s future.
“I’m disappointed,” he said. “I wish we had done a better job. I wish they had done a better job. I feel wonderful. That’s the most honest you can be.
“You work so hard to get to that place. You don’t take it for granted. It’s a tough place to get to, the divisional round, and move on. I feel more for the players and the coaches, because we put everything into it. We got into it. We didn’t make it.”
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