With the NFL season kicking off on Thursday, second-year Giants quarterback Daniel Jones doesn’t pass on a chance for some Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby.
Q: How can you grow as a more forceful leader?
A: It’s being who I am every day, and continuing to show I’m prepared and doing my job and making sure I’m putting guys in a position to do their job well, and holding everyone accountable as they hold me accountable.
Q: Do you enjoy the leadership role?
A: I do. I think that’s a big part of playing the position is being able to do that, being able to lead guys, being able to first and foremost, take care of yourself and prove to your teammates that you’re prepared and ready to go and also helping them get prepared and helping them play at their highest level.
Q: Describe the competitive fire inside you.
A: The competitive nature of the game, and playing any sport really, is something I’ve always been drawn to. I think you gotta enjoy that aspect of the game if you’re gonna be successful. I think that’s critical to being able to play the game at a high level.
Q: Would you describe yourself on the field as fiery?
A: At times. Just bringing an energy and bringing a little bit of that. I’m trying to excite guys, make sure everyone understands the intensity of the moment and where we are and what we’re doing and the energy, enthusiasm that needs to be there to accomplish what we want to accomplish. Yeah, I think at times I certainly can get fiery and help guys whatever way I can.
Q: What do you hope your teammates say about you?
A: That I work hard, that I’m prepared, I’m someone that they can count on every game to execute and to make a play. Someone who helps the guys around him play better, and that I get the most out of my teammates.
Q: Is New York Giants quarterback a fun job?
A: Yeah, absolutely. Playing football is what I love to do, so to be able to do that in the NFL, and then be able to do that in New York with a franchise like the New York Giants is an incredible opportunity, and something I try not to take for granted.
Q: How do you weigh the pressures of the job, of the quarterback position, and the responsibility of the position?
A: I think that’s certainly a responsibility of representing the franchise, representing the city, is something I take seriously and something I’m thinking about. I think that’s something that motivates you to get everything you can out of every opportunity, and make sure you’re putting the team in a position to win games. A big part of the job and something that I really enjoy about it, and like I said, it’s an incredible opportunity.
Q: Describe the Week 3 comeback last season at Tampa Bay and running in that decisive touchdown in your starting debut.
A: It was a great moment. To be able to come back and win that game on the road was a lot of fun and something we all I think look back on fondly. That was a big win for us, and hopefully we have more moments like that here this year.
Q: The opposite end of the spectrum: Jamal Adams’ strip-sack touchdown in a Week 10 loss to the Jets.
A: There’s certainly things I’ll learn from my first year and hopefully improve on going into this year, and that’s something I’m trying to focus on this offseason, and I look forward to improving here going into my second year.
Q: John Mara said the sky is the limit for you.
A: My approach is to come in every day and focus on what I need to do to improve and take a step forward as a player, and make sure I’m ready to go Week 1.
Q: What gives you confidence that you can take a second-year leap this year?
A: Just the work I’ve put in this offseason. I think as a team, we’ve certainly, considering the circumstances, done a great job preparing ourselves for what’s ahead of us for this season, and I think we’re in a good spot going into it.
Q: What did you think of Joe Judge’s ball security drill in the mud?
A: (Laugh) He did a good job. That’s something he certainly preaches a lot, and it was fun to watch him put that into action. Everybody got a kick out of it. A fun moment there at the end of practice.
Q: What is it about him that has earned the respect of this team?
A: I think just his daily approach, the way he believes in what he wants, what he expects, I think guys understand the purpose behind it, understand what he’s trying to accomplish with the things he’s highlighting, the drills he’s putting into practice and how he’s coaching them. I think guys understand it, guys see his goal and see the way he wants it to be done. Guys are certainly embracing his style and a lot of things he’s teaching. I’ve certainly learned a lot, I think our whole team has.
Q: What has been most eye-opening to you about what had been going on in this country and the discussions you guys have had as a team?
A: I think we’ve had some really good discussions as a team, and I think it’s important for all of us to listen to each other, to learn and do what we can to positively impact the situation. I think as a team we’ve had a lot of those conversations, and I feel like I’ve certainly learned a lot, and I’m excited to look forward to doing what I can to positively impact the situation and help drive change.
Q: What adjectives would you use to describe Jason Garrett?
A: I think he’s extremely detailed in his teaching, and what he expects from us as an offense, and very thorough in his information and his install of plays in his offense. I think guys have throughout camp learned a lot and have a good understanding what he expects. I think we’re in good position going into Week 1.
Q: What is your comfort level with rookie Andrew Thomas as your blindside protector at left tackle and the state of your offensive line?
A: I think those guys have done a great job throughout camp getting ready, working with [offensive line] Coach [Marc] Colombo to understand the new system and the techniques, and how we want to run certain plays. I think those guys have worked hard and made a lot of progress throughout camp just like all of us have. I’m excited to get out there with ’em, and I think we’re in a good spot there.
Q: Now with all the work you did this offseason, how do your quads compare to Saquon Barkley’s?
A: (Chuckle) I think I’m still a good bit behind Saquon. I’m not sure I’m gonna be able to catch up to him anytime soon. Got a lot of work to do in that department.
Q: What’s it like having a weapon like Saquon?
A: It’s great, the ability to hand the ball to him to let him run, and also a guy like him who can catch it as well as he can and can run routes and get open, gives us a lot of versatility as an offense. He’s an extremely talented player, and someone who can do a lot for you on the field in addition to his ability to run the ball.
Q: Describe Sterling Shepard.
A: He’s a great player, a great route-runner. I’m excited to work with him going into this second year, someone who I worked with a lot this offseason and certainly have a lot of trust in. He’s certainly had a great camp, and I know he’s in good shape to have a great season.
Q: Evan Engram?
A: He’s a guy who brings a lot to our offense, a tight end who can really run, stretch the field, cause some mismatches. He’s got a great skill-set. He had a great camp too, and I think he’s ready to go here going into this year.
Q: Observations about your rookie training-camp roommate, defensive end Dexter Lawrence.
A: It seems like he’s in a good spot going into his second year. He’s certainly caused some disruption for us and you can feel his presence out there on the field. I think he’s poised for a good year here in his second year and I’ve been impressed with him.
Q: Linebacker Lorenzo Carter?
A: He’s had a good camp too. He’s a guy that can get back to the quarterback and make a lot of plays. Another guy that makes his presence felt out there.
Q: During this pandemic, what are some of the things you have missed most?
A: Being able to go to dinner and do a lot of the daily things that probably most people are missing. I think the last month or so while we’ve been to camp it’s been a little different. Probably just the average things most people miss about life.
Q: Are you optimistic the NFL can play a full season?
A: I am, yeah. These guys have done a great job adhering to the protocols. I think it’s gonna take continued effort in that regard, and guys being smart and continuing to follow the protocols, the guidelines that have been put in place for our league. I’m certainly optimistic, and I think as a team we’re certainly doing our best to follow those protocols.
Q: Can a football season help be a diversion during this time?
A: Yeah. As a league, and as football players, we have an opportunity to do what we do, and the energy and the enthusiasm the fans have for football and the NFL, I think there’s an opportunity for everyone, and look forward to get back out there.
Q: What will playing without fans be like for you?
A: It’s gonna be a little different, but I think we’ll be ready for it.
Q: The virus hit New York hard at the beginning, so what would you want to say to the first responders who were under the gun and risked their lives?
A: We have a tremendous amount of appreciation for all they did and all they sacrificed to help fight the virus. To be out on the front lines and putting themselves in harm’s way to help others and help this country try to get through it. I have a ton of respect and appreciation for those people. They’re true heroes.
Q: What stuck out to you about Eli Manning’s retirement press conference that you attended?
A: How many people there were there and were supporting him, how many people he had impacted through his career, former teammates, members of the organization, and what that day meant to so many other people I think was cool for me to see, and tells you what kind of leader and what kind of impact he had on people he worked with.
Q: Do you ever allow yourself to visualize holding the Lombardi Trophy or winning a Super Bowl?
A: Right now I’m focused on what we’re doing day-to-day, and making sure that I’m taking steps forward to get better every day, and move forward as an offense, and move forward, me personally, and what I need to do to get better.
Q: Growing up, did you have a Super Bowl dream?
A: Yeah, I think everyone does. I think every kid dreams about winning the Super Bowl.
Q: What tells you this team is on the right track?
A: I think you need to look at where we started camp and how much progress we’ve made … the level of execution and understanding of the offense, I think we’ve made considerable strides there and we’ll continue to improve.
Q: What is your message to Giants fans about Daniel Jones, and about the New York Giants?
A: We’ve certainly put in a lot of work this offseason, this camp. I think we’re excited to get out there and looking forward to representing them on the field. We’ll play as hard as we can and do everything we can to win games and represent the fan base, represent the team, and we’re excited to do that.
Q: Joe Judge said when he was hired he wants a team that represents the metropolitan area, so what kind of a team would that be?
A: I think a tough, hard-nose team, plays with a lot of fight, a lot of grit. I think that’s what we’ll strive to do, and I certainly look forward to representing this area, this city.