It was a busy day at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. The Giants rolled along in training camp while also preparing for their second preseason game on Friday night against the Bears. And Giants president John Mara gave a state of the team address.
Here are five things we learned:
1. Mara’s hope is not to see Daniel Jones play in 2019. Many people are anxious to see how Daniel Jones plays in the regular season, but not John Mara. If all goes according to plan, the team’s president and chief executive officer won’t see the sixth overall draft pick start as a rookie. Rather, his hope is that Eli Manning has a great season and puts the succession on hold for at least another year.
“That would be an ideal world,” Mara said. “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.”
That was the case in 2004 when Tom Coughlin started Manning in place of Kurt Warner in Week 11.
“I guess you can make that comparison, yeah,” Mara said. “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.”
On Jones, Mara said, “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 (in the preseason game against the Jets). I think people need to temper their enthusiasm a little bit. It’s one preseason game, one series, but so far, so good.”
2. Mara defined success for the 2019 Giants. The Giants have won eight games over the past two seasons, five of which came in the first year of the current regime. With two full drafts and free agency cycles under their belts, general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur have rebuilt the roster. Mara said he is encouraged by what they’ve done, especially to the offensive line and the feel of the locker room. But what defines success this year?
“I want to feel like at the end of the season we’re moving in the right direction,” Mara said. “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.”
3. WR Golden Tate’s suspension upheld. The NFL released the following statement on Tuesday afternoon: “Golden Tate of the New York Giants has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2019 regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. Tate is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. He will be allowed to return to the Giants’ active roster on Monday, September 30, following the team’s Week 4 game vs. Washington.”
Tate, who said he took a fertility drug that included a substance banned by the league, had appealed the suspension.
4. CB DeAndre Baker “definitely” will be ready for opener vs. Dallas. Yesterday’s news that the rookie first-round pick had only sprained his left knee came as a “big relief” for Shurmur and the rest of the Giants. Baker had been running with the first team before the injury and was replaced by Corey Ballentine, another rookie, for the rest of the day. Baker said today that he is feeling no discomfort and that he would “definitely” be ready for the Sept. 8 opener in Dallas.
Meanwhile, running back Wayne Gallman was out today with sore foot and rookie offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei remains in the concussion protocol. The Giants also made the following series of roster moves: placed WR Amba Etta-Tawo (torn Achilles) on injured reserve, waived/injured tight end Isaiah Searight, and waived defensive end Alex Jenkins. The team signed tight end Jake Powell.
5. Eli looks forward to more snaps in second preseason game. Manning’s lone series last Thursday night consisted of a little bootleg and two run plays, one of which resulted in a holding penalty that was declined. That was it for the 16-year veteran. Manning said today that he thinks the starters will get more playing time this Friday when the Chicago Bears come to town.
“You always want to go out there, perform well, and make good decisions,” Manning said. “I think in preseason it’s important for quarterbacks, because things are live now, the rush is live, it’s real, and you’re going to have to throw it in some more awkward situations with your feet not always set and different things. It’s good to get work on that, feel the rush and move it around, and (then) make good decisions with that.”
Manning added: “I don’t know if I have an exact formula to that. I like to get out there and have some drives and get the feel of the game. Get things going, get some long drives going. Face all those circumstances, third downs, a two-minute drive. I think those things are good to get somewhere in preseason games.”