The Giants take a trip to Ohio this week, but they will fly right past Cleveland en route to Cincinnati.
The latter is where their focus will be. The team squares off against the Bengals on Thursday night in the third game of the preseason, 17 days before opening the regular season in Dallas.
So why, when the Giants don’t play the Browns until 2020, is each team answering questions about the other? Well, the starting quarterback of the Browns was quoted questioning the drafting of the future starting quarterback of the Giants. A Browns wide receiver, who used to play for the Giants, also chimed in again on his former team. The Browns quarterback then said he was misquoted and wishes nothing but the best for the Giants quarterback.
“Baker [Mayfield] commenting on whether we drafted Daniel [Jones]? That’s not original commentary, is it?” coach Pat Shurmur said. “We had a reason for why we did [draft Daniel], and we do feel like he helped his team win. We have a lot of reasons why Daniel is our quarterback. Beyond that, I don’t have much response.”
Shurmur added: “He’s in a long line of people that criticized that move. That’s his business. If I were Dan, I wouldn’t even address it, just like he hasn’t addressed all of his other critics. The one thing about Dan is, don’t confuse calm and composed for a guy that’s competitive and a winner. I’m fond of the phrase, ‘still waters run deep,’ so that’s what I think of Dan. Beyond that, I have no other comment.”
The Giants drafted Jones out of Duke with the sixth overall pick, one year after the Browns took Oklahoma’s Mayfield first overall. Fast-forward to Tuesday, and it was just another lesson for Jones as he continues to learn his craft alongside veteran Eli Manning, who can block out noise better than anyone.
“I try not to listen to much that’s said. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that,” Jones said. “I heard that before, I kind of have the same mindset, I certainly have a lot to focus on here, I have a lot to worry about here and I’m focused on that. It’s been good, but just focused on what I’m doing here.”
Jones did admit that the criticism from Mayfield seemed “a little bit” out of left field because they have never spoken to each other. Jones said, however, there are a lot of things that motivate him before someone else’s opinion would. Jones also believes he is a winner but also takes responsibility for his losses in college.
“Going back to Duke, I wish we did win more games,” Jones said. “I played a big part in that. I take responsibility for that, I wish we did win more games. Our goal was always to win ACC championships and to go to big bowl games and we weren’t able to do that. I don’t look back on that without a large responsibility for that.”
Meanwhile, Tuesday’s game of telephone will make for a good nightly talk with defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence. The two rookie first-round picks are roommates.
“All I can say is I’m happy Daniel is a part of my team,” said Lawrence, a Clemson product. “I played against him in college and he did his thing. You know we can just control what we can control. He comes in and works hard every day and he deserves respect, but I guess he’s got to go and earn it. … We’ll just have our nightly talk. I mean, he doesn’t let things like that phase him at all. He knows who he is, he knows how hard he works, he knows where he came from. It’s just people talking again and you can’t control that.”
*In football news, Shurmur also provided some injury updates after Tuesday’s practice. He said cornerback Sam Beal, who has been sidelined with a groin injury this summer after missing all of his rookie season with a shoulder injury, is getting healthier by the day. But the clock is ticking. The Giants have to finalize their 53-man roster by 4 p.m. ET on Aug. 31.
“We’re just going to have to see where he is physically,” Shurmur said. “We drafted him for a reason. We would like to see him be on our team. We’ll just see where he’s at, and then we’ll make a decision at the 53.”
*Rookie wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring) is getting “really, really close” to returning to live action, Shurmur said, but his status for Thursday is undecided. Slayton impressed the coaching staff during spring practices but has yet to play in a preseason game. He practiced Tuesday and made a handful of catches as the Giants prepped for the Bengals.
*The Giants also have some decisions to make regarding rookie offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei, a seventh-round pick who has been in the concussion protocol since July 27.
“We’re just going to have to see when the time comes,” Shurmur said. “He’s in the concussion protocol. We all know it affects guys differently. He just hasn’t been able to compete yet. We’re going to try to do the very, very best we can to get him well so he can.”