Daniel Jones

Transcript of Champion Super Bowl Coach Bill Belichick’s Conference Call Today As Patriots Prepare for Giants on Thursday Night

by Scott Mandel

Q: What are the ingredients to creating and sustaining a winning culture?
A: That’s a tough question, probably a long answer, might need a book on that one. Honestly right now, my apologies, I’m just trying to prepare our team on a short week for a really good Giants team. A team that’s gotten a little bit of a spark. They are a dangerous, explosive team, they have to try turn it around on a short week. The question you asked is more than I can handle right now.

Q: Did you have a reaction a few weeks ago when you heard Eli Manning was benched? Obviously, Eli Manning has been around a long time, he has history with the Giants, certainly has history with your team. What are your thoughts on Eli, his situation and what he’s done in his career?
A: I have a ton of respect for Eli, he’s a great person, very professional, team oriented. I spent over a decade with the Giants, I have an appreciation for playing quarterback for that franchise in that environment. He’s done a tremendous job, and certainly had a lot of success against us. I have a great deal of respect for him. I’m really focused on trying to coach our team and I need to do a better job of my job and not really looking to evaluate what anybody else is doing. I have my own full plate here, I’m trying to coach the Patriots.

Q: What is your impression of how your defense is playing this early and seemingly this well?
A: We’ve had our moments. Right now, it’s about focusing on the challenge ahead with the Giants. The Giants have so many weapons on offense, a great tight end, two great quarterbacks, probably the best running back in the league, very good receiving group. They are very experienced on the offensive line, they added a lot of players there in the last couple of years. Solder, Zeitler, Remmers and, of course, Hernandez, Halapio has done a good job for them. Those guys have played together, they are in there every week, they haven’t really had any changes all year. They have (Golden) Tate back now, they have a ton of weapons offensively. Well coached, they have a great scheme, they are a well-balanced offense. That’s a lot for me, a lot for us to handle, to try to prepare for and for our players to get ready for all the things that they do and do well. They can run it; they can throw it, throw it deep, throw it to the backs, throw it to the tight end, catch and run plays, play action drop back, misdirection, you name it. It’s a lot to get ready for.

Q: What is different about the Giants offense with Daniel Jones at quarterback?
A: Offensively, it’s probably the same plays. Eli is very good at the line of scrimmage of making adjustments and protections and occasionally signaling routes against pressure and things like that. He may have done a little more of that on the line than Jones has. Jones is fast, and he’s made plays with his legs outside the pocket. The Tampa game comes to mind right off the bat. He’s got the ability to extend plays and also run for yardage to score or pick up critical first downs. He has kind of the sixth receiver element. Both guys are very accurate passers, see the field well, make good decisions. They are at different stages of their career, but both guys are outstanding players. Any team would like to have either one of them and they are fortunate they have both.

Q: I know you guys had Jones up there for a visit pre-draft and I’m just curious what your impressions were of him before the draft, and has he looked like the player you thought he could be?
A: Yeah, we had a great visit. He spent most of the day here, actually spent a lot of time with our offensive coaches, with Josh (McDaniels) and Mick Lombardi, guys that work with that position on the offensive side of the ball. We had a great conversation, talked about a lot of things. He’s very mature, certainly a good understanding of the Duke offense and Coach Cutcliffe and the things that they were doing there. Again, a good grasp of the offensive system—protections, routes, route concepts and why they’re used in different combinations and in certain situations. Actually, I think it was kind of a change of plans, but at the end of his visit, I think he said he had to go somewhere, but then he ended up going to the Giants from here, so even I could figure out there was something going on there. He’s an impressive player and a very impressive person. We had a great visit, and again, playing quarterback in New York is not the easiest thing in the world, but he’s got a lot of maturity and a good head on his shoulders and has good perspective on football and the overall leadership position that comes with that role on and off the field. So, I’m sure he’s done well and will continue to do well.

Q: You’ve never faced Saquon Barkley, but you’ve seen him on film, and I guess his availability is in question for Thursday—what kind of dynamic does he bring to the Giants to change their offense?
A: He’s an outstanding player. You’re right, we haven’t faced him, and I hope we don’t, but we need to be ready for him. He’s a very competitive guy, I’m sure he’s doing all he can to get ready to go. He was close last week, so we’ll probably get him. He can do it all. He’s got great power, speed, they use him well in the passing game. He’s very hard, obviously, to tackle in the open field, he’s hard to tackle anywhere. He’s got good vision, good quickness, he can play in space, he’s elusive, he’s got power, he had 2,000 yards from scrimmage last year. That pretty much says it all right there. Plus, we know he can return kickoffs and everything else, so he’s got a ton of skill, as good as any back we’ve seen on film. We watched a lot of him last year, we didn’t expect him to play in preseason, but just kind of getting ready for the Giants in the preseason we saw a lot of last year’s film and what a player he was for them. And he was an explosive player and a dynamic player this year. I’m sure he’s either going to be back or is close to being back, so we have to be ready for him.

Brady is missing Gronkowski and others but has been solid, if not spectacular

Q: What made Nate Solder such a valuable member of your organization when he was there?
A: Nate did a great job for us. His first year, he played behind (Matt) Light, played right tackle, played tight end, and so forth, he played about half the time, but it was in a variety of positions. Then, after that, he took over at left tackle and gave us really solid play there for a number of years.

Q: I know you focus on your team exclusively, but are you mindful at least that two of your quarterbacks (Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo) with the Colts and 49ers are having a lot of success this year, and you had them and did a lot to develop them?
A: Well, that’s kind of the way it is in the National Football League. Every team has players that were on their team that are playing somewhere else and some of them are doing well, and maybe some of them aren’t playing anymore, but that’s the league. There’s plenty of movement throughout the league at all positions with every team. If you follow the NFL, that’s pretty much the same for every team.

End of the Eli Manning Era as Giants Bench QB for Rookie Daniel Jones

By Scott Mandel

From the moment he was drafted in April, it was inevitable that Daniel Jones would one day succeed Eli Manning as the Giants’ starting quarterback.

That day has come, two games into Jones’ rookie season.

Coach Pat Shurmur announced today that Jones will make his first career start on Sunday, when the 0-2 Giants face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium.

“Eli and I spoke this morning,” Shurmur said. “I told him that we are making a change and going with Daniel as the starter. I also talked to Daniel. Eli was obviously disappointed, as you would expect, but he said he would be what he has always been, a good teammate, and continue to prepare to help this team win games. Daniel understands the challenge at hand, and he will be ready to play on Sunday.”

Manning started the season’s first two contests – losses at Dallas and Sunday at home to Buffalo. He completed 56 of 89 passes for 556 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for a passer rating of 78.7. But the Giants have scored only four touchdowns, despite averaging 420.0 yards a game.

At his news conference yesterday, Shurmur said he was “going to address all areas” and declined to say if Manning would start on Sunday.

“Ultimately, this is a move that I felt was best for this team at this time,” Shurmur said. “I have said it since I got here, I am very fond of Eli. His work ethic, his preparation, his football intelligence. All those attributes are as good as I have ever seen in a player. And Eli worked as hard as you could ask of anybody to get ready for this season. This move is more about Daniel moving forward than about Eli.”

Jones, 22, was the sixth overall selection in the draft. In three seasons at Duke, Jones started all 36 games in which he played. With the Blue Devils, Jones completed 764 of 1,275 passes (60%) for 8,201 yards, 52 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He also had 406 rushing attempts for 1,323 yards (3.3-yard avg.) and 17 touchdowns. 

Jones was outstanding in the preseason. In four games, he completed 29 of 34 passes (85.3%) for 416 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a glittering 137.2 rating.

Jones will be the third of the 11 quarterbacks selected in this year’s draft to both play and start a game. Kyler Murray, the first overall selection by Arizona, started the Cardinals’ first two games. Gardner Minshew II, a sixth-round selection by Jacksonville from Washington State, started the Jaguars’ loss Sunday in Houston as a replacement for the injured Nick Foles.
 
Manning has been the Giants’ starting quarterback since he replaced Kurt Warner with seven games remaining in his rookie season in 2004. He has started 232 of the Giants’ last 233 regular-season games. The loss Sunday to the Bills dropped his record to an even .500 at 116-116. He is 
8-4 (.667) in the postseason, including victories in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI in which he was named the games’ most valuable player.

Manning started 210 consecutive regular-season games from Nov. 21, 2004 to Nov. 23, 2017, the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history. Only Brett Favre (297) started more consecutive games than Manning. He did not play on Dec. 3, 2017 at Oakland but returned to the lineup the following week and has since started all 22 games the Giants have played.

He will be the team’s No. 2 quarterback at Tampa Bay.

Manning holds all of the Giants’ career passing records, including attempts (8,061, which places him sixth in NFL history), completions (4,860, sixth), passing yards (56,537, seventh) and touchdown passes (362, eighth).





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End of Eli Manning Era as Giants Head Coach Shurmur Hints at Quarterback Change

By Scott Mandel, SportsReporters

Head Coach Pat Shurmur — September 16, 2019 

Opening Statement: Let me talk about the injuries. You saw Cody Latimer had a concussion. Sterling Shepard is improving from his concussion. (Kevin) Zeitler has a shoulder that he’s been dealing with. Then we just have some game soreness. Markus Golden got hit in the throat, I guess. That’s about all I have for that. I don’t really have much to add to what I talked about last night. There were areas in the game where all three sides played well. I also think there wasn’t enough consistent play. They were four-for-four in the red zone against us. We were one-for-one. We had other opportunities to score that we didn’t. We moved the ball well at times. We didn’t do well enough on third downs. There were some opportunities out there that we didn’t take full advantage of that you need to do against a good team. As we go along, you’re going to see that they’re a good team. They were a good defense. We knew that going into it. They played well on offense against us, and we got beat. We’re looking at all things moving forward, finishing up our evaluation of this game and then having talks as to, like we always do, what we’re going to do moving forward. With that, I’ll take your questions.

Q: You said you’re looking at all things moving forward. Does that include the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game?
A: We always do that. Obviously, Eli’s been our starter to this point. I’m not really ready to get into any of those conversations about any position.

Q: Do you mean conversations with us or conversations…
A: No, we’re going to talk about everything we’re doing moving forward. That’s fair at this point. We’re 0-2. There are areas where we have to get better. We’re going to address all areas and try to find ways to put a winning performance on the field.

Q: Is Eli (Manning) your starting quarterback this week?
A: He’s been our starter to this point. I don’t want to talk about anything else moving forward from that standpoint. Not ready to discuss that.

Q: That’s going to leave it open for debate.
A: I understand that. I do.

Q: Do you think Daniel’s (Jones) ready if he is named the starter?
A: I think anybody that we put in there, we put in there with the idea that they’re ready to go. What I find interesting, too, this is why I’m a digital minimalist, is you all quickly quit listening to me and you’re looking at your phones. I find that fascinating.

Q: What goes into that decision this week?
A: We’re looking at everything that we can do to get better. That’s really what we do every week. To this point, what we’ve done hasn’t been good enough.

Q: Your third downs have been bad. Is there any thought of when you have third and long, putting Daniel in so you have a greater option to, if the pass isn’t there, run?
A: Third and long is usually what you’re presented with are longer yardage situations where they can take away the deep throw, you check it down. You see that around the league. We just need to do a better job of making sure we’re not in those situations, number one. Then number two, everyone once in a while, you have to try to fit one in there. But your option of just putting a guy in there… the ability to run with the football in those pass rush type situations, typically the runs become scrambles where you drop back and throw. The quarterback run game is typically thought of and used more in shorter, third down situations or first and second down, typically. Red zone, situational ball. Not usually on third and long.

Q: What did you think of Janoris Jenkins’ comments after the game about the pass rush?
A: I don’t think that reflects him that well. We spoke today. I talked to him about how things that we say can be interpreted. He was referring to one play and not to anything in general. But I spoke to him and we discussed what should be said moving forward.

Q: Did you disagree with what he said?
A: I don’t like anybody making excuses for anything.

Q: What about just the frustration? Is it almost, I don’t want to say a good thing, but the fact that he showed he cares and he’s tired of losing?
A: Listen, we’re all disappointed that we lost. We can’t get frustrated. We obviously need to make sure we’re saying the right things all the time.

Q: Getting back to third downs real quick, you guys are 5-for-24 through the first two weeks offensively. Obviously, you can get better on first and second down, but how do you create more manageable third down situations and prolong drives?
A: Well, you’re sort of answering the question within your question. We have to be in more manageable ones. Those situations, we’ve had more longer yardage third downs than the law allows. We need to make sure we do a better job of making them more manageable. That’s where it starts. Then everybody needs to do their job. You have to protect well. We have to make sure we’re running crisp routes. Then we need to throw and catch.

Q: Would you agree that your offensive line is playing well enough, and that your running game is good enough that you should be scoring more points if the passing game were producing?
A: We’re producing yards in the passing game. The critical situations, obviously the third downs and then when we get closer, scoring… With regard to the offensive line, I think they’ve played much better than they did a year ago. There are still errors in there. We’re doing some things better in the run game than we did a year ago.  We’ve made improvements in some areas. Not good enough to win yet. I don’t want it to come out that way. But moving forward, we can build on that.

Q: You guys poured weeks of practices and training camp into Tae Davis with the ones, Antonio Hamilton somewhat with the ones. They went from starting Week 1 to zero snaps defensively. Is that you just decided to move on and go with the rookies? How do you go from starting to zero snaps?
A: Everybody gets reps in the offseason. Most of the guys that made it on our 53 (man roster) got reps at some point with the ones. Sometimes you get more reps with the ones in situations where a guy in front of you is injured. I wouldn’t look at that as being the reason. We felt like we wanted to make a couple changes. We wanted to put (DeAndre) Baker in there and dedicate him to playing at corner so that he can improve, and the same thing with Ryan (Connelly).

Q: How have you been handling Daniel’s reps?
A: Typical of every place I’ve been. He’ll get a couple reps, as you do a rack of plays with the ones, Daniel will get a couple of those.Q: Does 10 percent of the reps sound about right? 50 percent?
A: A lower percent, closer to 10 than to 50.

Q: So, similar to what you did with Alex Tanney as your number two last year?
A: Yes, very similar.

Q: When you look at Eli yesterday—the way he ran the offense, managed the team, utilized the players he had yesterday—where could he have improved in your mind?
A: I think those are internal discussions and things that we look to improve on moving forward. Everybody that played in the game—we’re all responsible for when we win and when we lose—and even when you win, you make mistakes. So, those are internal conversations so that we can make those corrections moving forward.

Q: You mentioned the designed run that Josh Allen scored a touchdown on yesterday–
A: That was a good play. Well designed and he did a nice job. They blocked it well—it’s typical of the play they were running with the running back, the G-sweep—they carved us out and got in.

Q: Around the league in this day in age, you see a lot of the time quarterbacks are scoring and getting first downs on designed runs. You don’t do that with your starting quarterback–
A: There are other teams—there’s a lot of teams that don’t run quarterback-structured runs. We could sit here and make a list of the ones that don’t. I think when you do that, and you have a quarterback that can do those things, I think that’s smart, I think that’s utilizing the talents of the player that you’re working with.

Q: Is it fair to say that—you don’t do that with Eli, no one has ever done that with Eli—whenever Daniel Jones gets his chance, that’s something his skill set would allow you to do?
A: He has a much better skill set to do those types of things than say Eli. Yes, that’s fair.

Q: When you say that you look at every position every week, when you’re looking at the quarterback position, how do you balance giving you the best chance to win this week versus maybe the future?
A: We’re always trying to do what we can to win this next game, and then behind the scenes, we’re always having those long-term discussions, but I think that’s the challenge each week—just doing what you can to win the next game. That’s really my focus as the coach, and certainly that’s what the players’ focus is.

Q: Is Ryan Connelly okay? It looked like he was shaken up on the touchdown.
A: Yeah, he’s not on my list. I don’t see him on there.

Q: Do you expect more from Jabrill Peppers than what he’s shown you through two weeks?
A: I think everybody needs to play a little better, and we’ve got to coach better, that’s all. Here’s the thing with Jabrill—I’m a big fan of his energy and his enthusiasm, his toughness, and I think he’s one of those guys, if there are mistakes in there, he’ll get them corrected and move on fast.

Q: When it comes to making changes at quarterback, is it more complicated because of the position? Is the discussion more complicated because of the personnel involved and who you’re dealing with, as far as Daniel and Eli, and (Alex) Tanney? 
A: I think anything that we choose to do, and when I say we have discussion amongst us as coaches, and then I certainly keep Dave (Gettleman) and John (Mara)—everybody upstairs sort of knows, okay moving forward this is how we plan to play the game—we have those conversations. It really, fundamentally, happens the same way.

Q: Both Dave and John said, “Pat’s going to make that decision.” Do you feel like you have the final say on who your quarterback is?
A: I think at this time of year when we’re talking about the team and moving forward, I’m right in the middle of all of it.

Q: Do you think not being definitive to us about this, and we’re not being definitive to the public right now—is that an edge of uncertainty that you want around this team?
A: Uncertainty about what?

Q: About not coming out and saying Eli is starting this week again. Is a little edge, a little uncertainty, good in the locker room?
A: Listen, I don’t want to be dishonest with anyone. Like I said, we’re evaluating everything moving forward, and I’m not ready to talk about all that right now.

Q: Have you talked about it with Eli?
A: Again, at this point we’ve had meetings, and they’re still finishing up their meetings.

Q: Is it fair to say that by drafting Daniel in the spring, you guys internally have already had most of the conversations leading up to the point at which a change would be made?
A: I wouldn’t say all conversations have happened, or haven’t happened. We’re very honest and open behind the scenes with everything that’s going on. I think I’ve tried to portray that with regard to the quarterbacks all along here.

Q: Is it fair to say that you will have made the decision by Wednesday when you get on the practice field, if you’re going to make a change?
A: Yeah, we’re moving forward, absolutely.

Q: Is Sterling Shepard clear from the protocol?
A:  I don’t know. It says here (on the injury report) “non-contact practice,” so yeah, he’s going through the steps, it appears like, in time to make it for this game. But again, they’re all different, the concussion things are different. Once you’re in the protocol, there’s a set standard that we follow, and obviously player safety is important. We don’t want to bring a guy back too soon.

Q: On draft night, you said it would be Eli’s job to keep Daniel off the field. How is he doing in that regard, in your opinion?
A: I think he’s doing a good job. I think we need to do more, all of us included, everybody, to win football games. That’s why when I say we’re doing what we have to do each week to put a team on the field that’s going to compete and win a football game, that falls on all of us. That’s the beauty, in my opinion, that’s the challenge, that’s what gets me going, the challenge each week to try and do that. We’ve all been around situations where you’ve had an outstanding team and there’s less you need to do each week. Then, we’ve all been faced with struggles as coaches to fight and scratch to do what you have to do in other ways, and so that’s the fun part for us behind the scenes, is to just kind of put that all together and then watch them do it on Sunday.

Q: Is Darius Slayton making progress?
A: He is. Let’s see what we say here about Slayton—he’ll be out there practicing this week, so we’ll see how much closer. We can revisit that.


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Q and A With New York Giants Owner, John Mara

by Scott Mandel

Q: Does this feel like 2004 at all, bringing in a young quarterback and looking ahead?
A: I guess you can make that comparison, yeah. We weren’t quite sure when that was all going to take place and how it would all kind of work out, but yeah, there’s a certain similarity to it. I like to think that we have a better team than we had in 2004, but we’ll see about that.

Q: What have you seen from Daniel (Jones) so far?
A: So far, so good. He’s everything that we thought he would be. He’s been terrific on the practice field, did a good job the other night. I think people need to temper their enthusiasm a little bit. It’s one preseason game, one series, but so far, so good.

Q: When you look at Daniel and praise him and think of things about him, does any part of you also drift toward Eli (Manning), and when you would have that whole dynamic come and go?
A: Yeah, a little bit, but Eli is our starting quarterback and will start the season. He’s obviously been a great representative of our franchise for a lot of years, and will continue to be, so we’ll just have to see how that one unfolds.

Q: Ideally, how would you like it to unfold this season for Eli?
A: I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field. That would be an ideal world. You’d like to see that. Again, at the end of the day, it’s going to be a decision by the head coach as to when or if Daniel ends up playing this year.

Q: Is that true, really? Obviously, you want the team to win a lot of games and make the playoffs, but if Daniel doesn’t play one snap as a rookie, you’d be okay with that?
A: I’d be very happy about that because it means that we’re having a great year and Eli’s having a great year.

Q: Do you think that’s possible?
A: Sure, why not?

Q: John, what do you think that would mean for next year if that’s the case?
A: Let’s worry about next year next year, seeing that we’ve got to get through this season first.

Q: John, you said that the 2004 team was not as talented as this team. What do you see from this team?
A: Well, I think we’ve done a pretty good job in the draft the last couple years and we’ve got some good, young talent on both sides of the ball. I think our offensive line is better than it’s been, so I think there’s reason for some optimism there, but until we start playing some games and winning some games, that’s all it is right now. I also like the feel of the locker room, so we’ll see.

Q: You said you’ll worry about next year next year. You’re fine with holding off on anything with Eli, because obviously he’s in the last year of a contract, until after the season? 
A: I think we’re in a one year at a time mode right now. 

Q: Do you imagine that if and when a decision comes on the quarterback situation this season that you’ll have to approve it?
A: Well, I’d like to be informed of it before I read it from you guys. But, at the end of the day, just like it was in ’04, it was Tom’s (Coughlin) decision back then, and it will be Pat’s (Shurmur) decision this time. Again, hopefully, it’s a decision he doesn’t have to make until way in the future.

Q: You mentioned the locker room. Was the locker room an issue last year?
A: I think it was not as strong as it could have been. I think there’s just a different feel to it this year. I think some players have commented about that, too, so we’ll see. A lot of times, I think that gets taken out of proportion. At the end of the day, if you start winning some games, it builds some enthusiasm, it builds some good feelings, some positive vibes, and I think that’s what we need to do more than anything else. Right now, it feels pretty good.

Q: At this point, what has given you faith in Eli? It’s obviously been a few years since he had the type of success he had earlier in his career.
A: I think he’s played well when the protection has been there in front of him, when he has confidence in the protection. I thought that the second half of last year he played much better, our protection got a little bit better, and obviously Saquon (Barkley) was having a big year. So, I think our offensive line is better this year than it has been, and he’s had a terrific camp so far.

Q: John, Eli’s the longest tenured player in franchise history. How much thought has been given to how hard it might be when you have to say goodbye to him?
A: It’ll be a very difficult, emotional moment, to be sure, but I’m not thinking about that just yet. He’s still the starting quarterback. 

Q: Around the league, Dave Gettleman has taken a lot of heat for the moves he has made, for his attitude, for a lot of things. People are taking a lot of shots at him. Has any of your confidence wavered at all throughout this whole process?
A: Not at all. I think the best thing for me about Dave is he makes decisions that he feels are in the best interest of the franchise and he doesn’t give a damn what people think about it, be it the media, or be it fans, or anybody. He has the courage of his convictions, and you have to have that. He’s set about to try and rebuild this team and change the culture a bit in the locker room. I think, as I said before, our last two draft classes were pretty strong, and that’s what gives me confidence going forward. I think we’re moving in the right direction. Again, until we start winning games, it’s hard to sell people on that notion, but that’s what I believe. 

Q: Did he give you pause at any time about all the talent that went out the door? Not just Odell (Beckham Jr.), but Landon (Collins), (Olivier) Vernon, a lot of guys.
A: I wouldn’t say I had any—there was never any doubt in Dave’s ability or in what his motivation was, or what his skill level was. You don’t like to see all that talent go out the door, but let’s face it, we had one winning season in ’16 and the other five or six years, nothing, not since we won the last Super Bowl, so we needed some drastic changes. Again, he had the courage of his convictions, he knew they would be unpopular moves, but he went and made them anyway. 

Q: What do you need to see this season to consider it a success, or a step forward?
A: We need to win some games. I want to feel like at the end of the season we’re moving in the right direction. I’m not going to say it has to be a minimum number of games that we have to win, or we have to make the playoffs. I want to feel when I’m walking off the field after the last game of the season, whenever that is, that this franchise is headed in the right direction. That’s, to me, the most important thing.

Q: What is your overall patience? Obviously guys don’t last very long if they don’t win?
A: I’m not very patient, I take the losses pretty hard, but I understand that you have to make decisions that are in the best interests of your team in the long run and not worry about the short term as much. It doesn’t make it any easier when you are losing these games, but I understand what he is doing. I think he has us headed in the right direction.

Q: You have a big investment in your future with Daniel Jones. Are your coach and GM tied in with that?
A: Absolutely. I heard something the other day, I forget who the commentator was, that the coach was not crazy about our first-round pick. Nothing can be further from the truth and what sold me on (Daniel) was Dave, Pat and our scouts, Mike Shula, everybody was sold on this kid. That’s what made it easier for me to okay. Pat’s been a huge advocate right from the draft. Everything he’s done so far has been what we expected and what we hoped for. 

Q: What was your role in the whole decision to draft Daniel?
A: I just had the final approval, on all decisions like that. For me, if the general manager and the head coach have a conviction, then I’m going to let them go with it.

Q: Did you watch any college tape of Daniel?
A: I watched a little bit. One of the first questions I asked him when I met him was: do you have thick skin. Then after we drafted him, I asked him: do you understand why I asked you that question. He smiled, he can handle it, he can handle being the quarterback of the New York Giants.

Q: Did it give you pause because of the Eli dynamic?
A: Not really. When you have a conviction about a player, particularly at that position, you better go ahead and take him. So, there was no pause.

Q: Do you see a lot of similarities between Daniel and Eli the way other people do?
A: When I first sat down with Daniel, it was eerie to me how similar. It was like talking to a 22-year-old Eli, which is a good thing.

Q: Are you satisfied with the job Pat Shurmur has done? The team only won five games last season.
A: I’m not satisfied with winning five games, but I think he has us headed in the right direction. I think the players believe in him and we have a lot of confidence in him.  

Football Giants’ Quarterback Battle Between Daniel Jones and Eli Manning Underway

By Michael Eisen


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Daniel Jones was standing at a podium answering questions from reporters today when Kurt Warner approached a Giants acquaintance and said, “he’s so much like Eli.”

“It’s amazing,” Warner said after Jones’ news conference had concluded. “Even some of the phrases he uses remind you of Eli (Manning). You talk about what you see on film and some of their mannerisms as players, but it’s crazy. You hear them talk and it’s like ‘Oh my gosh!’ These guys are like the same guy, it’s just Eli 15 years younger. It is fascinating. But again, not a bad guy to model yourself after, from a lot of different standpoints.” 

Warner, a Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, is hardly the first observer to note that Jones, the quarterback chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft, is similar in comportment, demeanor and throwing motion to Manning, who is preparing for his 16th season as the team’s starter.

Jones is eventually expected to succeed Manning. That made Warner’s presence fraught with symbolism, because the Giants haven’t changed quarterbacks since 2004, when Manning, then a rookie, replaced Warner. The Giants were 5-4 but had lost two games in a row and three of their last four. Tom Coughlin, then in his first season as the Giants’ head coach, was looking to the future.

“I think Tom Coughlin’s approach was, ‘We’re not a great football team,’” said Warner, who visited the Giants’ training camp in his capacity as an NFL Network analyst. “That doesn’t mean something can’t happen, but is it better to kind of start the future and to start building and get our young quarterback ready for that run two years from now and three years from now. We got seven games under our belt that were rough games, but to be able to handle that and work through that no doubt sped up the curve for Eli so he was ready earlier, and obviously it played out well for their (two) championships.

“When Tom brought me in, he told me, ‘It’s not because Eli is better. It’s just because this is what we have to do.’ It wasn’t like every day I was going, ‘I’m better than Eli.’ That’s not the scenario here. I just have to accept it, and help where I can help, and compete where I can compete and hope I get another chance. I think that made it different. I give Tom so much credit, because he looked me in the eye and told me, ‘This is why. It’s not fair to you. You’ve got to deal with it.’”

Warner joined the Giants knowing he was holding the position until Manning was ready, and his stay here would almost certainly be short. The Manning/Jones situation is different, because the former is the greatest quarterback and arguably most popular player in franchise history. No one has played and won more games in a Giants uniform.

“All that stuff has to come into play,” Warner said. “…there’s a lot of dynamics, but I think there’s a lot more flexibility with this situation because of who Eli is and the ability to really kind of let this thing play out instead of sit there and look for the first opportunity to get Daniel – I don’t think the Giants are going to be doing that. I think it can help ease the situation a lot more than a lot of these situations where teams are just looking for that first opportunity to say, ‘Hey, let’s put him in.’”

Giants coach Pat Shurmur has not publicly specified how he will divide the quarterbacks’ training camp snaps.

Warner played six seasons for St. Louis before joining the Giants. He led the Rams to Super Bowl XXXIV, where he threw for 441 yards and two ‘;touchdowns and was named the game’s MVP in a victory against the Tennessee Titans. Two years later, Warner threw for 365 yards, but the Rams were upset by New England in Super Bowl XXXVI. After leaving the Giants, Warner began a five-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals that included a loss to Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLIII in which he threw for 377 yards and three scores. Warner was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2017.

Jones has said several times that he is trying to learn all he can from Manning, which is likely one reason mentor and protégé often seem so similar. Warner said he and Manning had a different kind of relationship 15 years ago.

“The weird situation with me and Eli was, Eli had Peyton (another first overall draft choice who also won two Super Bowls), Eli had Archie (his father, who was an NFL quarterback for 13 seasons). So it was kind of a little bit different dynamic for me, because first of all, I didn’t want to jump in and be like ‘Hey Eli’ when he has these great minds and football players there to help him. And you remember Eli when he was a rookie. Very quiet. He didn’t say a whole lot. He was kind of cerebral and took it all in. More than anything, you just offer different things. You watch film together. But I didn’t push the envelope with him like I did with some of the other guys, just because I knew he had the resources. It was always like, ‘Hey, if you ever need anything from me, I’m more than happy to help you.’ But I’m also respectful of the idea that a phone call away from one of the greatest quarterbacks that ever played, or a dad that played in the league and that understands it as well. So a little different dynamic than I think a lot of guys when you have a veteran and a young guy.” 

Although he played just one abbreviated season with the Giants, Warner has always spoken fondly of his time here, and of Coughlin.

“I wanted to play as many games as I could, not to stay the starter for the Giants for the long term, but to parlay that into another opportunity for myself,” Warner said. “With Eli, you always want to be able to go out on your terms. You want to be able to dictate, and what you realize in this business is, you can have a bad half, you can have a bad game, you can have a couple of bad games. That doesn’t mean you can’t play anymore or you don’t turn it around and then all of a sudden you have a great season. That becomes the hard part. When you’re entrenched as the starter, you get the luxury to have a bad game, or bad season or whatever that is. When you’re a starter and there’s a guy right behind you, you don’t always get that luxury if you go through a (rough) period.”

Warner’s season in Giants blue gave him an understanding of how Manning and other veteran quarterbacks feel with a highly-touted youngster on their roster.

“It’s always hard,” Warner said. “No matter what, or no matter how confident you are, you understand the dynamics of the situation. When you’ve got an icon like Eli from this organization, that there’s a different factor there that goes into it. But when you’re the veteran guy, and you know there’s a guy behind you that’s eventually going to play, it was always one of those things where you had to fight not playing worried about making a mistake. Or getting tight and playing differently than you did before. Most guys are never going to tell you that. But it’s the way it is. You go, ‘How long is my leash? If I have a bad game, is that it? If I have a bad half, is that it?’ That becomes the hard dynamic. Go play. You’ve got to play your game and let it play out. If you don’t, you’re not going to hold the job for very long anyways.

”I don’t know how it plays out with an icon like Eli, as opposed to, for instance when Eli and I were together. I knew it was just a matter of time. So I’m trying to hold onto it for 16 games. That’s all I’m trying to do, because I know two years is going to be tough. But a lot of times, that’s the situation. You’re just going, ‘How many games can I get out of this?’ Almost to prove to somebody else that I can play, because chances of me getting this job and keeping it when they’ve got a guy behind me is slim to none.”

No one knows exactly how the Giants quarterback situation will develop in the coming months and years. But it will be very interesting to watch.