EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants have had numerous prolific quarterback/wide receiver tandems in their 96-year history. Y.A. Tittle and Del Shofner. Fran Tarkenton and Homer Jones. Kerry Collins and Amani Toomer. Eli Manning and – at different times - Plaxico Burress, Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham, Jr.
Could Daniel Jones and Kenny Golladay someday join or at least approach those productive and exciting duos?
Granted, such talk is wildly premature, considering Jones and Golladay have yet to play a game – or even wear pads – together. But their new partnership has brought an exhilaration not just to the offense, but to the two players who are so energized to be teammates.
"It's been great working with Kenny so far," Jones said today after the first of three minicamp practices. "You can tell he's a true pro. He understands offensive football. He's still obviously learning our system, but you can tell he's got a good understanding of football and where to be, kind of timing and understanding concepts.
"He's been fun to work with. Obviously, his talent and skill level, you can tell as soon as you can get on the field with him he's a good player, smart player and I'm excited to keep working with him."
Jones and Golladay didn't wait for the team's offseason program to begin working together.
"Me and Danny hooked up a few times outside of the facility," Golladay said. "I didn't really come into it with any expectations to be honest but as of right now, that's my boy. I can't wait to just really work with him deeper in training camp and especially when the season starts."
View the best photos from Tuesday's minicamp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
Jones is entering his third season as the Giants' starting quarterback eager to continue his ascent and lead the Giants to their first postseason berth in five seasons. Golladay joined them in March as their most prominent free agent acquisition, a gifted wide receiver looking to return to the level that enabled him caught an NFL-high 11 touchdown passes in 2019 after injuries limited him to five games last year.
By those benchmarks, this would seem to be, as a reporter put it to him, a "make-or-break year" for Jones … and a significant season for Golladay.
"I'm not sure I necessarily think of it that way," Jones said of the external expectations placed on him. "I think right now my focus is on what I can do to improve and I think making sure that I'm improving every day and getting myself in a position to go into training camp prepared and be prepared to start the season. So I think that's my focus now that there's - we've all got to perform in the NFL and you're expected to perform at a certain level. So certainly understand that, but right now, the only way to get there is to focus on what we're doing here every day at practice."
Golladay conceded he views his move to the Giants as an opportunity to prove to a new team and fan base how well he can play.
"One hundred percent," he said. "This is just a new chapter in my life right now. I definitely feel like I have to go out there and prove to other people including myself, it's different for me. I got drafted to Detroit. Played all four years there. This is a whole different environment right now. So, I'm just ready to accept the challenge and just ready to go to work."
At 6-4 and 216 pounds, Golladay is both the Giants' tallest and heaviest wide receiver. In 2018-19, he twice exceeded 1,000 receiving yards while catching 135 passes and scoring 16 touchdowns. Golladay has the speed to run deep and the strength to win jump balls with defensive backs in the red zone.
"The second you stand next to him, you understand he's a long guy, and that showed up on his tape before we got him here," coach Joe Judge said. "There's enough evidence in the experience of the league that we know that about him. In terms of how that can help a team, I think that only helps as well as you can use it to your advantage. There's a lot of tall guys in this league that can't create separation and can't make contested catches. … To me, it's all about your individual skill set and how you can use it. There's enough evidence with Kenny that we are going to work it to use his strengths and we plan on having impact, but again that depends how he produces on a daily basis. We have high expectations for all our players and he's no different and giving him an opportunity to work within our systems and give him an opportunity to make plays."
"I think (you can) to tell just by his stature, his size and length, his athleticism," Jones said. "He's a big target and had a lot of success in this league going up and catching balls over guys and winning those contested catches. So yeah, that's something you could tell as soon as you get on the field."
Golladay joins a group of pass-catchers that includes wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton and tight ends Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph. Right now, the focus is on strengthening his on-field rapport with Jones.
"I think right now we are on the field in the spring, we're just now getting to work together and feel all those things out," Jones said. "Get a sense for how he sees it, how I see it, how he wants the ball and where I can put it. I think those conversations come naturally when you get to know each other and working through a lot of things like we are right now."
Things that should help both Jones and Golladay – and the Giants' offense – when the games being in September.
*Judge became his Zoom news conference with a tribute to former Giants coach Jim Fassel, who passed away yesterday in Nevada.
"First, want to give condolences to the family of Coach Fassel," Judge said. "Very sadly, he passed away (yesterday). Look, it's an honor being inside this building where his impact was directly felt, carries over into the history of our organization; a coach around the league that worked together and had a lot of good relationships, have a lot of respect for his son (John, the Dallas Cowboys' special teams coordinator), just all the respect in the world for what they are doing. Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the impact he made here for the Giants, something we talk about as a team and we'll make sure we reflect on today."