Q: You are now the longest tenured quarterback in the NFC East. How important was it for you to stay in the division?
A: I don't know if I looked at it from a standpoint of importance, but I do think it's an advantage. Spending my last six years in D.C., playing on and off there and then having the opportunity to join the Giants. I think playing those teams, their systems, their coaches, their coordinators may change but you do have a feel for players and their skillset. It's a very competitive division and I do think there is value in staying in the east for sure.
Q: Did you have any existing relationship with Daniel Jones or have you even ever met?
A: I met Daniel just in pregame when we played them a couple times last year. I know him more as a quarterback because playing in the same division you get to watch their tape week in and week out because we are playing all the same opponents across the league. I thought he played very well as a rookie last year. His future is bright, his ceiling is high and he seems like a really great person. He's obviously very lucky to have a guy like Eli in the quarterback room. A guy I really look up to and respect as a guy who did it right his whole career. I think Daniel knows the importance of a healthy quarterback room. I've talked to Daniel since I signed a couple times and just told him how excited I am coming up and learning this new system together. It's kind of unfortunate the circumstances we are in right now. We have to get creative in ways to learn and grow. He seems like a great person and I'm excited to come in and learn alongside him and Alex (Tanney). Really just come in work hard and compete and bring out the best in our quarterback room, which I think will really benefit our team.
Q: You went through the 2011 lockout as a young quarterback. What advice can you offer Daniel on how to prepare for a season when the offseason is interrupted like this?
A: I had talked to a few of my friends about that lately. That was probably the worst thing to happen to me as a young quarterback. I played my rookie year and then we went into the lockout going into my second year. I didn't get the playbook until we had two or three weeks of training camp. That was the first time I knew anything, and it was a completely new system. I played decent that year, but our team certainly struggled. I think I can take some experience and some lessons learned from that and hopefully help Daniel. I think Daniel is prepared for this, he played a lot more his rookie year than I did. There are challenges and it's a new system, new ways to call plays. A new philosophy in what we are trying to accomplish as an offense. I will really do my best to be a great resource for him. I don't know what the rules are yet, but hopefully as we get going on this virtually learning and installs with Coach Garrett, Daniel and I spending time on the phone to really talk about the ins and outs of what we are doing. I think as best we can, we are going to have to adapt and face these challenges just like everyone else in the league. Certainly, I remember that lockout season being a real challenge for me. I'll do my best to help Daniel and make sure he is feeling as confident as he can and we as an offense are feeling as good as we can too.
Q: Did Coach Judge or Coach Garrett talk to you about how the quarterback room is going to be structured? You have Alex, who worked with Daniel last season. Are you guys competing directly or are you guys complementing each other? How is that working?
A: I did spend a lot of time talking to Coach Judge and talking to Coach Garrett. They seemed great over the phone. I've known Coach Garrett from playing against him the last six years. I really think his system is very QB friendly from watching it from afar, I'm excited to get going in that. I'm sure you guys all know the structure. I'm assuming Daniel is the starting quarterback, he was the sixth pick in the draft and he has a super bright future. That doesn't just count out coming in and practicing hard and working hard in the classroom, and in the film room studying. I have sort of mentioned on another phone call earlier that for me I've been a backup and a starter. The way that I approach it is, number one, making sure that Daniel feels as comfortable as he can going into these games. Understanding and feeling good about the game plan and our preparation all week long so he can go out and play as best he can. I take pride in helping him feel that way and helping Coach Garrett. Being an old guy, you don't get a lot of reps, but you have to do a lot of mental reps. The second part is the responsibility of being ready to play if something were to happen. You have to go in from the bench and play well and that's expected, those two things. I've been a starter, and everyone wants to be a starter, but as a backup, it's just as crucial to handle your business that way. I really feel confident that I bring value to this team and to that quarterback room. I think that approaching it that way is the right way. These challenges that we are facing right now with COVID-19 and having to learn online, it will be interesting. I think we will be alright.
Q: What is the key to being a good backup? Obviously you came in the league and wanted to play. What is the key to supporting a younger teammate and staying ready? Is there a key that you have that the Giants saw in you?
A: The one thing that Coach Judge and Coach Garrett told me is that we watched all your tape for 10 years and you have started a ton of games in this league. You also have been a backup and when you were called to come off the bench you have always stepped in and won the game and played well and played up to a standard. We value that and that's why we want you to come be here. I think there are a lot of challenges in playing backup like I mentioned. You have to be ready to play and be able to watch tape, be disciplined, and learn because you are not going to get a lot of reps. I think more important than that is I look at it from a standpoint of what if I was to be a coach someday. I have played in a lot of different systems, my dad was my high school coach. I have been a water boy since I was three years old. I have been around the game and I love the game. Playing backup creates a lot of challenges and you may not play all year long. I backed up Kirk (Cousins) for two years and I didn't take a snap. Some other seasons, I have played four or five games, it's unique. I try to be another set of eyes, another set of ears, another encouraging voice and like a coach for whoever the starter is. I think it will help me if I want to make a transition someday to be a coach, to call plays. I want to understand and learn this system in a way that's detailed, it's structured and that I can call the game the way Jason would call the game. I think by doing it and by learning and understanding it, that really helps Daniel or whoever is playing. It would help me ultimately if I was called upon to play. I try to get creative with it, but I also know my role and what it entails. I couldn't be more excited to come to a place where I don't know a whole lot of people, but I love the game and I'm excited about the opportunity and the challenge. I'm just looking forward to when all this passes and getting up there and getting to work.
Q: You mentioned the challenges of learning the offense with Daniel and Alex. So much of the quarterback and receiver relationship is physical. You have to establish timing and stuff. As we are in these challenging times, how can you build that up with your receivers so when you do get to work out with them, you can hit the ground running?
A: I'm not real sure exactly how that's going to work. When we do these Zoom live classes or installs I don't know how it's going to work, I have never used it. I'm hoping that there is some interaction between players. You are listening to your coach but maybe we can have interaction with the players or you can hop on a call with some of other guys. So you can ask, hey, how did feel about that or do you like the depth of that route, is that how you were taught. So you can go through a lot of different things with them. All 31 other teams are facing this same challenge. I think some teams who are going to continue in the same system maybe have a little bit of an advantage. I think the teams like us who have a new coach and a new system have a little bit of a disadvantage. That can't be a crutch or an excuse either. We just have to figure out ways to get creative. (Make sure) The first time we can toss the ball around and run some plays we are all on the same page. Hopefully we can figure that out.
View photos of quarterback Colt McCoy.
Q: There's a possibility that for a lot of years here we could watch Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins go against each other. I'm curious what your thoughts were on Dwayne after seeing him up close for a year?
A: It was good. I think Dwayne has a ton of potential, just like Daniel. I think Daniel played a little bit more this year, so he probably has a little more experience. But both of those guys were highly sought after in the draft last year. They both had great college careers and they both have a ton of skill at playing the position. I know Dwayne is very talented throwing the football. It would be good. I get to play against the Redskins for at least this year, and we'll see what happens. It should be fun. I'm excited to work with Daniel after having worked with Dwayne last year. I know he has a bright future. It'll be fun games, for sure.
Q: Have you gotten a playbook?
A: We're going to get going on Monday, as long as that is upheld. I just don't know the rules. But I think that's sort of the plan. We'll dive into the playbook then. I think right now, everybody is just really focusing on the health and wellness of our country. I know the Giants specifically for the players, they're in constant contact with us, making sure we have all the things we need from a health standpoint. But again, I think there's a lot of uncertainty. I think Monday is kind of the day where we're going to get all of that and get going.
Q: You talked a little bit about a possible future in coaching. Is that something you're kind of hypothetical about, or is that what's going to happen at some point?
A: I certainly don't want to rule that out. I've been playing football for a long time and been around the game a long time, too. I think I would be a good coach. I've played in a lot of systems. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp and understanding of the game. So yeah, I don't want to rule that out. I still think that I have a lot of football to be played left in me. It's why I'm still going. But coaching intrigues me, yes. I think that could be in my future. I looked at this as an opportunity to go learn from Coach Judge, Coach Garrett, Jerry Schuplinski, our QB Coach, he's been a part of… He's coached Tom Brady and many other guys. I think there's a lot of value in this place, in this organization, to really learn more football and I'm excited about that.
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to Jason Garrett at all about that? He obviously had a long NFL career, mostly as a backup, and sort of made that jump to coaching. Have you had a chance yet, or is that something that might happen down the road?
A: Yeah, I've had great conversations with Coach Garrett, and some about that, for sure. He certainly has done that. He played for a long time and he's been a super successful head coach. I'm excited to learn from him. Not only his system and him coming back to calling plays this year, which he hadn't done in a couple of years, but really, I mentioned it earlier on this call, there is value to playing for a coach that played quarterback, that played your position. There are little things that pop up, and he sees the field the same way we do and he understands. But he has an expectation of us to play at a high level and he knows how he wants his offense run. But there is a difference. Playing for Coach (Jay) Gruden, he played quarterback too. There is a familiarity there that he sort of understands what we see and how we play. I think there is benefit to that.
Q: Along those lines, how much value is there going back and looking at tapes of Jason Garrett's system before he became the head coach, back when he was the offensive coordinator in Dallas, and just getting a feel for what he does in certain situations?
A: I think there certainly will be a time for that. I'm sure we'll watch Cowboys offense tape during these installs and kind of down the road. I think right now, we're just trying to get a good grasp of just the terminology, the protections, the formations, how we call the plays, all those things. Once you kind of soak that in, I do see a big value in watching those plays be executed versus different coverages or defenses or fronts. I'm sure that's coming. I think right now it's more just learning the foundations of what we're trying to do.
Q: When you were around Alex Smith, I'm just curious because of his reputation as a leader and to some degree mentor, I'm wondering if there was anything from Alex in particular that you picked up, and if you'll be particularly curious in terms of what the future holds for him?
A: First of all, I love Alex. He was a tremendous resource, a great leader, a good football player, and above that, he was just a great person. My two years with him I think were some of my most enjoyed years. It was the worst thing ever to see him go down and have the injury that he faced and kind of walk through that with him, and we're still walking through that with him. I felt more confident than ever when he went down coming in, playing and leading our offense. I felt like I was playing at a really high level before I broke my leg as well. But we had a great working relationship. I definitely will take a lot of the things I learned from him as I move on to the Giants, as far as just the quarterback room, the help of the quarterback room, studying, different ways that he looked at tape, you can go down the list. I really valued my time with him. He's one of my best friends. I certainly hope that he has a chance to play again if that's what he wants. We'll see what happens with that.