EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – For Daniel Jones and Jason Garrett, some of the best and most enjoyable work on the practice field occurs after everyone else has left.
That's when Jones, the Giants' quarterback, and Garrett, the team's former backup QB and current offensive coordinator, compete to see who can throw the most footballs into a garbage can – or hit the goal-post crossbar – or anything else they can think of to throw a ball at.
"There's several different games we play and the last one is a target game where we pick a target and go for it," Jones said this week as the Giants prepared for their season-opening game Sunday against the Denver Broncos. "It's kind of a game we play, an ongoing competition. There's score kept and we're competing. It's not a B.S. situation (laughs)."
"We do like spending extra time having our competitions afterwards – accuracy competitions and ballistics throwing competitions and just how you can perform in nut-cutting time competitions," Garrett said. "It's something we've done with quarterbacks for a long time."
The statistics they compile or the stakes on the line are not why the exercise is important. It is instead strengthening the bond between a coach and his most important player, who is essentially an extension of him on the field.
"I think you're always trying to do that when you're a coach," Garrett said. "You're trying to build relationships with your players. Certainly, you build them in the meeting rooms, but outside the meeting rooms with all your guys, you're trying to develop those relationships, because what I would argue is that that's what allows you to coach them hard and coach them to a high standard, them knowing that you care about them and you want what's good for them individually and what's good for us as a team. So, I think Daniel understands that. For me, we've had a really good relationship right from the start."
One that has been enhanced by their regular contests.
Jones completed 62.2% of his 907 throws in his first two seasons with the Giants. Garrett played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1993-99 and the Giants from 2000-03 and hit 56.1% of his 291 throws.
"He could destroy me," Garrett said.
But Jones said his superior in-game accuracy does not give him an advantage when they're aiming for targets on the practice field.
"He throws it pretty well and he'll let you hear about it, too," Jones said.
Garrett can be modest, too.
"I'm on a little bit of a streak here the last few days," he said, "so we'll see how it goes."
View photos from Wednesday's practice as the Giants prepare for their Week 1 matchup against the Broncos.
*The Giants made no changes on their injury report today.
Tight end Evan Engram (calf) was the only player who did not practice.
Ten players were limited: running back Saquon Barkley (knee), wide receivers Kenny Golladay (hamstring) and Kadarius Toney (hamstring), tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot), tackle Andrew Thomas (ankle), defensive lineman Danny Shelton (neck), linebacker Justin Hilliard (foot) and cornerbacks Adoree' Jackson (ankle) and Josh Jackson (calf).
*There has been no official announcement made as to whether Barkley will play Sunday against Denver, but the consensus is he has done everything necessary to be in position to see his first game action since suffering a serious right knee injury last Sept. 20 in Chicago.
"He's excited," said wide receiver Sterling Shepard, one of Barkley's best friends on the team. "You guys (reporters) see him running around here. He's been looking good at practice. He's just listening to everything that the trainers have to say and just going with the process.
"(He's been) doing Saquon stuff. Hitting the holes, making cuts, doing stuff that he always does, making those wild plays."
Shepard admitted he's been sneaking peeks at Barkley during practice.
"All the time," he said. "I'm always focused on what I have to do first, but you can't help but get excited sometimes seeing him running around out there. That's like my brother and I love playing with him. I'm just happy to be back out on the field with him."
If Barkley plays, Shepard said he will have "a happy feeling. It's been a long road and to see him back out there doing what he loves is ultimately what I would like to see. That's how I feel."
*Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey is wary about facing his counterpart, Denver's Tom McMahon. The Broncos' seven blocked kicks since 2018 tie them with Cleveland for the league's second-highest total during that time, one behind New England (whose special teams coordinator for two of those years was Joe Judge).
"Oh man, Tom McMahon, his group is always really, really good," said McGaughey, who was an assistant coordinator in Denver in 2005-06. "They're always super aggressive. They give you a lot of gimmicks, you get fakes, you get the surprise onside (kick). Their punt is different than any other team in the league; how they punt the ball with direction and limited hang and distance to try and get your returner running sideways. It's challenging and you always got to stay on your toes. They give you a swinging gate on the punt team. They can give you one of them – I mean, they give you all kinds of stuff. They make you prepare for everything and you just got to stay on top of it and just be ready for all the situations that might come up."