Daniel Jones opens up about his uncertain Giants future

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones huddles with Post columnists Steve Serby for some Q&A.

Q: Why do you believe you are the right man for this job, the Giants’ quarterback of the present and quarterback of the future?

A: I think, for one, I’m gonna work as hard as I possibly can to put this team in a position to win games. My approach has been, and I’ve said, if we win games and we take of business this year, the rest will take care of itself. I’m gonna work as hard as I possibly can to do that. I’m gonna play as hard as I can on Sunday, and keep trying to put this team in a position to win games.

Q: Smart, tough and dependable: Those are the characteristics the new coaching regime looks for, and you’re definitely all of the above. But to convince them to keep you beyond this season, do you have to win more games and score more points?

A: We’re always trying to win games and score points, that’s our job on offense: move the ball down the field and get in the end zone. We understand that. That’s all of our responsibility as a group on offense to do that. We put pressure on ourselves to do that more than anything.

Q: But they declined your fifth-year option, so they have a decision to make. And you have to convince them that you’re the right man. So you have to win more games and score more points, right? Not only the whole team, you.

A: I’m not concerned with that. I’m concerned with winning games, and we’re gonna do it as a group.

Q: Would you try to sneak into a Duke football practice as Chad Powers?

A: I don’t know (smile).

Q: Would that be tempting for you?

A: (Laugh) I don’t know, I don’t think I could pull it off quite like Eli [Manning]. That was a heck of an acting job he pulled there, but (chuckle), yeah that was funny.

Q: Have you been on the “Manningcast”?

Giants
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones
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A: I have not, haven’t gone on the “Manningcast.”

Q: Would you like to go on? I got connections, I can get you on.

A: (Laugh) I don’t know, Saquon [Barkley] was on there, he did a good job.

Q: You’re tight with Eli, why don’t you ask him to invite you?

A: (Smile) I’m not asking for any invites, but yeah, it’s been fun watching those guys, they do a great job, and you learn a lot watching ’em, and I really enjoy it.

Q: If the Manning brothers have a “Manningcast,” what about you and your brother Bates having a “Jonescast”?

A: (Laugh) I don’t know, I don’t think many people would watch it at this point (chuckle) … but maybe something down the road.

Q: Did Eli ever play a practical joke on you?

A: Yeah, a few of ’em. He made me sing a lot. … He made me do stuff in meetings, like skits and little presentations about various subjects. It was all good, all rookie stuff.

Q: Can you give me an example of a skit?

A: What was the dance he did with Odell [Beckham Jr.] in that commercial? It was from some movie, I don’t know what it was, but it was the whole dancing thing where you lift the guy up …

Q: They showed that during the Super Bowl.

A: Yeah, it was that whole skit.

Q: He didn’t lift you up, did he?

A: No, he was watching.

Q: Who lifted you up?

A: I can’t remember, but it was …

Q: Somebody lifted you up?

A: It was that whole reenactment.

Q: In front of the whole team?

A: The offense.

Q: How did you feel at that moment?

A: (Smile) It was all fun, it was all good stuff.

Q: Have you played a practical joke on anyone?

A: I don’t know if I have, I don’t know if I have. I gotta work on that.

Q: Has being quarterback of the New York Giants been surprising? Has it been what you expected?

A: It’s been fun. We haven’t won as many games as we would have liked, I think that’s what we’re most focused on going forward and trying to bring a winning team to the field for the fans. I’ve enjoyed it, and looking forward to getting better.

Q: How do you deal with the pressure?

A: I think I just focus on what I’m doing, that’s the biggest thing for me is to not get outside of what I’m doing at that present moment, and focus on that.

Q: How difficult has it been dealing with the losing?

A: It’s been hard, it’s been hard for sure. You put a lot into it and work really hard for a result, but you gotta trust that you’re improving, trust that you’re working towards something and continuing that work.

Q: You got a taste of how New York-New Jersey embraces winners with that 2-0 start.

A: It’s been fun. I think the atmosphere on Monday night for the Cowboys game was a lot of fun to be a part of. The fans brought a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm, so we’re looking forward to getting back in front of them Sunday.

Q: Are you recognized when you go out?

A: From time to time.

Q: You don’t wear a disguise or anything.

A: I don’t.

Q: How do you deal with the loss of privacy?

A: Most people are nice, just want to say hello, and I appreciate their support, appreciate their support of us as a team and the Giants organization, and it’s been fun meeting them.

Q: What does it mean to be quarterback of the New York Giants?

A: This franchise has a long tradition of winning, of successful teams, and it’s cool to be a part of that. There’s responsibility to it as well to represent the organization well, and I take that very seriously.

Giants
Daniel Jones scrambles during the Giants game against the Cowboys on Monday night.
AP

Q: Your nine fellow captains: What makes Saquon Barkley a captain?

A: The way he comes to work, and the example he shows from that standpoint of always taking care of his business and putting himself in a position to play well on Sunday. He sets a great example, I think he builds great relationships with guys on the team, and people definitely respond to that.

Q: He seems to be over the hump as far as his knee.

A: I think he’s played great, I think he’s off to a good start, you saw it in camp, you saw the confidence he was playing with. … It’s fun to see him finally healthy again, and doing things we know he can do.

Q: What makes him unique? What impresses you most about his talent?

A: There’s so much of it (laugh), there’s so much talent. His explosiveness, his strength, his quickness. A guy of his size and strength to be able to move as well as he does, as quick, as powerful as he is, is really impressive. Obviously, he’s gifted with a lot, he’s a talented guy, but he works his tail off to play as well as he does.

Q: What makes Andrew Thomas a captain?

A: As soon as you talk to him, you realize how important it is to him, how much time he puts into it, the mental part of the game as well as the physical part of the game. He’s an extremely smart football player. At his position, that’s extremely important, so he knows exactly what he needs to do, he knows how to do it. He’s extremely consistent with that approach. I think guys see that, guys notice that, and it encourages them to be better.

Q: Xavier McKinney?

A: Probably one of the more vocal captains and one of the more vocal leaders on the team. The way he plays, with that energy, that passion, the enthusiasm, I think people see that and really respect that and appreciate that. His willingness to lead vocally and send a message to the group when we need to hear one.

Q: He’s not a guy a quarterback should relish challenging, right?

A: No I don’t think so, he’s a smart player for sure. That’s really what you want back there at safety, a guy who can read the quarterback, read routes and make plays and he does that well.

Q: Julian Love?

A: I think he’s smart. I think he’s got great football instincts. He recognizes things well and makes plays back there. He does a good job getting everybody choreographed and lined up. Really smart player, knows exactly what he needs to do.

Q:. Dexter Lawrence?

A: Dexter’s another good vocal leader for us, a guy who is willing to speak up and send a message when he needs to, and plays extremely hard, is a big-time player for us.

Q: He was your roommate at rookie training camp. What was that like?

A: It was great, it was good. Two ACC guys and North Carolina guys. He’s an awesome guy, he’s a big personality, has a great relationship with everyone on the team. You can tell people really respond to that.

Q: Did he order a lot of room service?

A: (Laugh) No, I don’t remember him ordering a lot of room service.

Q: Leonard Williams?

A: He’s a great player, I think his passion, his love for the game, you see him making plays and celebrating with teammates and how hard he plays every Sunday, I think that’s an example for everyone.

Q: Cam Brown?

A: The respect he draws from other teams and how much they have to alter their game plan to deal with him. He does a great job leading the special-teams unit.

Q: Casey Kreiter?

A: A veteran in the league who’s played a lot, who has a lot of great experience playing his position and does a great job leading the special teams, getting guys together to meet and everyone to get on the same page.

Giants
Daniel Jones and Eli Manning in 2019.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Q: Graham Gano?

A: Another veteran in the league that guys look to. He’s stepped up in a lot of big-time moments and performed at an extremely high level for a long time.

Q: Daniel Jones?

A: Overall, I try to build relationships with guys across the team, and understand how everyone communicates and what they respond to. I think being that way, being the same guy every day, being consistent and as genuine as possible with that approach.

Q: Did you learn that from Eli, or have you always been that way?

A: I think I’ve always tried to be that way. I think Eli was a great example of that in how he went about his business and the example he set for guys. I always have tried to value those relationships, and I think you’re able to best lead a group or help a group out when first you know the guys and you have good relationships.

Q: You took a beating on Monday night. Did your mother call you and express her concern?

A: (Laugh) Mom’s seen a lot of football over the years. She knows it’s part of the game. She knows it’s all good, she knows I’ll be all right. I was a little sore, but nothing bad.

Q: Does she call you Danny Dimes? Does anybody in the family call you that?

A: (Smile) Nobody calls me that (laugh). Not many people I deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Q: You don’t like that nickname?

A: It’s all right, there’s definitely worse things you could be called.

Q: How often does head coach Brian Daboll FaceTime you?

A: Well, now we’re seeing each other every day, so not as much. It was a genuine, real authentic way to try to get to know guys.

Q: How about two people you would love to FaceTime with?

A: Matthew McConaughey would be interesting. He’s a good guy to talk to. … Let’s see … [author/PR guru] Ryan Holiday, I read some of his stuff, I think he’s a pretty interesting guy. I’d like to talk to him.

Q: How does Wan’Dale Robinson’s quickness with the ball in his hands differ from Kadarius Toney’s?

A: Wan’Dale’s a little more compact. They move a little bit differently in their route running and how they get in and out of breaks. They both accelerate really well and stop and start quickly, and that’s a huge advantage for ’em. They’re different, different sizes, a little bit different movement type, but both extremely good athletes.

Giants
Brian Daboll and Daniel Jones
AP

Q: Describe Kayvon Thibodeaux.

A: He’s a great athlete, a strong guy, a good pass rusher off the edge. He certainly doesn’t lack for confidence and belief in himself. You want that as a pass rusher, a guy getting after the quarterback, so I’m excited to keep watching him play.

Q: Thoughts on Aaron Judge?

A: I think it’s extremely impressive to see what he’s done — the home runs and just the season he’s had overall offensively, to play like he has for the duration of a baseball season is pretty incredible. I’ve enjoyed watching him and looking forward to hopefully seeing him hit 62.

Q: What is the best movie you’ve seen in the last year”

A: The new “Top Gun” movie was really good. That’s probably the only movie I’ve seen in theaters in a long time.

Q: What is the most fun thing you’ve done in the last year … other than this interview?

A: My brother was playing for Duke this past year, Duke basketball, so they went to the Final Four, and my family got to do down there and see that together. Unfortunately we lost to [North] Carolina, which was tough, but just having everyone together, being there in New Orleans watching it was pretty cool.

Q: What was it like meeting coach Mike Krzyzewski?

A: Really cool. You could tell just by his presence and the way he carries himself, he’s a tremendous leader and a guy people really gravitate to and look to.

Q: Thoughts on Jon Scheyer taking over for Coach K? That’s almost like taking over for Eli Manning!

A: (Laugh) I think he’s gonna do great. My brother’s actually still there doing another year. He’s gonna be a grad assistant there on Coach Scheyer’s staff. I know he thinks a lot of Coach Scheyer.

Duke
Daniel Jones during his days at Duke.
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Q: Do you cook?

A: No, I don’t cook.

Q: What do you do for food?

A: I eat a lot of meals here.

Q: What’s your go-to in the cafeteria?

A: They make a nice turkey avocado sandwich that I like a lot. That’s a go-to of mine.

Q: Favorite restaurant in the New York-New Jersey area?

A: Big fan of Dino & Harry’s in Hoboken.

Q: What do you get there?

A: Steak, filet.

Q: Medium rare?

A: Medium.

Q: You probably could be an air traffic controller, you’re so mild-mannered. Where do you get that from?

A: (Laugh) I think probably my parents. I think it’s important playing quarterback to be able to kind of keep a level head and not get too high, too low.

Q: Do you ever get angry on the field?

A: Yeah, I do, I get frustrated, I get angry. I think that’s natural, part of it when it’s important to you, when you care about it a lot. But I think when you have those moments, you try to come back to neutral as soon as possible so it doesn’t affect the next play.

Q: You won’t berate a guy?

A: I think more often than not, there’s another way to communicate with a guy, and I try to do that when I can.

Q: Are you more like your mom or your dad?

A: I don’t know. Hope that I got the good parts of both of ’em.

Q: Thoughts on going to London to face the Packers in Week 5?

A: I’m looking forward to it, I’ve never been to Europe, never been to London, so I’m looking forward to going over there and seeing what it’s like, so it’ll be a cool experience.

Q: How would you sum up your Giants career to this point?

A: We haven’t gotten the results we’ve looked for these past few years, but looking forward, I think there’s a lot for us to do and a lot for us to accomplish.

Giants
Daniel Jones talks to reporters at his locker.
Noah K. Murray-NY Post

Q: What do you hope Giants fans are saying about Daniel Jones?

A: Hope they’re saying I’m a tough, smart competitor, and gonna put the team in a position to win every week.

Q: And what would your message to Giants fans be?

A: As a group, we’re determined to put a team on the field every Sunday that plays hard, plays tough and [is] in a position to win the game at the end.

Q: You were at Eli’s last press conference when he referenced “Once a Giant, only a Giant.” How much would that appeal to Daniel Jones?

A: I think right now I’m focused on this year, I’m focused on playing the best football I can this year for this team, and that’s certainly where my head’s at.

Q: Why is it that so many guys say they want to retire a Giant?

A: It’s a franchise and organization that has a rich tradition and has a rich history. It’s a special place to play. I think guys realize that when they get here.

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