The first interactions between veteran Eli Manning and rookie Daniel Jones are going quite well, says Giants coach Pat Shurmur, who declared the symbiotic relationship of the quarterbacks as healthy and productive — for both players.
“I think it’s good on both counts,” Shurmur said Monday after the first organized team activity practice of the spring. “It’s a really, really good quarterback room, and they’re two very competitive guys that work well together. Guys are in there just trying to get better with each rep and they help each other. I feel really good about the interaction they’ve had to this point.
“Just the way quarterbacks communicate. They’re smart guys that are highly competitive, they’re well-accomplished players and they’re doing what they can to get ready to play. Eli’s getting ready to play winning football. Dan Jones is trying to learn the offense and get himself ready to play Week 1. Like all the quarterbacks in the room. Because they have a general respect for one another and because that really is a healthy quarterback room, they both can improve and get better and that’s good.”
Shurmur saying Jones, taken out of Duke with the No. 6 pick in the NFL draft, is preparing himself to play “Week 1″ is coach-speak and not a suggestion this is an open competition. Shurmur made it clear Manning, entering season No. 16 with the Giants, is the starter. Shurmur also made it clear Jones is being groomed immediately as the backup, ahead of Alex Tanney and Kyle Lauletta, the other quarterbacks on the roster.
“I view the quarterback position, we have a starter in Eli and we’ve got guys behind him, specifically Daniel Jones, that need to do everything he can to play Week 1,” Shurmur said.
Asked about how the workload will play out with Jones, Tanney and Lauletta, Shurmur said: “We’ll scale it, certainly. They’ll all get their work, but Daniel will get the majority of that.”
Working alongside each other for the first time, the two quarterbacks, separated by 17 years, hit the field on a sun-splashed morning. They look remarkably similar in terms of body-type and demeanor. Manning received the reps with the starting offense. In the first two-minute drill period, Manning did not complete a pass and his fourth-down throw, intended for Cody Latimer, was deflected by cornerback Sam Beal and intercepted by safety Jabrill Peppers.
Jones got the work with the second group and ended up tossing a short touchdown pass to fellow rookie C.J. Conrad, an undrafted tight end from Kentucky. As the session moved on, Manning’s command of the offense surfaced, and he was the more effective passer.
There are no signs of tension between Manning, the present, and Jones, the future.
“No, not at all,” Shurmur said. “These are pros.”
The Giants are not demanding Manning mentor Jones, fully confident Manning will serve as a role model simply by being himself and attending to his business on and off the field, as per usual. Last week, veteran Joe Flacco insisted he is not a mentor for rookie Drew Lock.
“There’s a lot of conversation with regard to that,” Shurmur said. “Listen, you’ve got a guy that’s played in this league for a very long time that’s getting himself ready to play the 2019 season, so he has a process that he goes through. And we’ve got a new draft pick that’s trying to get himself ready to play Week 1, and so they’re racing to get themselves better and they help each other. That’s the way these rooms work, if you’ve got a good room.”