Rookie Jones al­ready learn­ing from Man­ning

The News-Times - - SPORTS -

Daniel Jones turned 22 years old on Mon­day. There wasn’t any big bash or mo­men­tous cel­e­bra­tion, but be­cause it did hap­pen dur­ing a hol­i­day week­end while the Giants were not prac­tic­ing, he got a chance to ex­plore his new home­town. Rather than sit cooped up in the New Jer­sey mo­tel where he’s stay­ing these days, he made a cou­ple of trips into Man­hat­tan. And a funny thing hap­pened while the fu­ture king in­spected his realm. Noth­ing.

He wasn’t hounded. Wasn’t no­ticed. Was barely rec­og­nized. Jones may rep­re­sent am­bi­tion and op­ti­mism for the Giants, but this week­end he was just an­other South­ern sight­seer who strolled too slowly while gawk­ing at the skyscrap­ers. It’s hard to imag­ine any other quar­ter­back taken with a top 10 pick walk­ing through his new fan base with such anonymity.

So far, the face of the fran­chise is vir­tu­ally un­rec­og­niz­able.

Ex­cept, of course, in how it re­sem­bles the one that has been the team’s of­fi­cial coun­te­nance for the past 15 years. About the only splash Jones has made off the foot­ball field stems from his un­canny sim­i­lar­i­ties to Eli Man­ning. Since the two have been prac­tic­ing side by side for a few weeks, it’s been easy to com­pare the way their statures, their move­ments, and even their ex­pres­sions seem to be in sync. So­cial me­dia has feasted on the un­avoid­able looka­like an­gle.

As the quar­ter­backs con­tinue to work to­gether this sea­son, the plan is for them to start act­ing and play­ing alike, too. That process has al­ready be­gun.

“There’s a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties in their stature and how they han­dle them­selves,” Giants coach Pat Shur­mur said af­ter Tues­day’s OTA work­out. “Per­son­al­ity-wise, I would say in some ways they are sim­i­lar as we get to know Daniel Jones and his per­son­al­ity more. They are very calm in their ap­proach, but they’re very fiery un­der the cov­ers. I don’t think you want to mis­rep­re­sent ei­ther one of them. They are both very fiery about mak­ing sure things are done prop­erly. They de­mand it of them­selves and they de­mand it of the peo­ple around them.”

Jones’ task this sea­son is to learn as much as he can from Man­ning about be­ing a pro­fes­sional, be­ing an NFL quar­ter­back, be­ing a Gi­ant. Be­ing, well, a Man­ning. The first few weeks of that study have gone well.

“I think you can learn a lot from him on the field, just from a scheme stand­point,” Jones said Tues­day. “He has done it for a long time, he knows that stuff. To me, a lot of it is in his rou­tine and his daily prepa­ra­tion and how he pre­pares for prac­tice, how he re­views prac­tice and learns from prac­tice. I think just that rou­tine and just learn­ing from that, be­ing able to watch him ev­ery day, to me has been the most help­ful.”

Jones said the big­gest les­son he’s ex­tracted from his ob­ser­va­tions has been re­gard­ing the way Man­ning stud­ies the “script” be­fore prac­tice. It’s ba­si­cally a list of the plays that the team will be run­ning. At Duke, Jones said, he’d just go out there and run the plays that were called at a mo­ment’s no­tice. Now, he’s ap­pre­ci­at­ing the value of pre­par­ing for each of those reps.

“You re­ally want to have an aware­ness of what ev­ery­one is doing,” Jones said. “Get­ting the script be­fore­hand and un­der­stand­ing that, pre­par­ing for that, I think, is dif­fer­ent.”

Shur­mur said Jones is “get­ting bet­ter ev­ery day.”

“Daniel’s ap­proach, he is here all the time just like all the other quar­ter­backs. He is doing ev­ery­thing in his power to get right.”

“That’s the goal, to progress ev­ery day,” Jones said. “I think I am. I’ve learned a lot and we are in­stalling just about ev­ery day. The chal­lenge is to progress ev­ery day and I think I have done that.”

If he con­tin­ues, maybe by his 23rd birth­day he’ll be rec­og­nized on the streets of New York City. And not for the quar­ter­back he is mim­ick­ing both pur­pose­fully and in­ad­ver­tently, but for his own place in the town’s sports hi­er­ar­chy.

Then again, if he re­ally is any­thing like Man­ning in that ca­pac­ity, and all in­di­ca­tions are he is, he’ll yearn for the un­der-ther­adar days like the ones he got to en­joy this week­end.

Adam Hunger / As­so­ci­ated Press

Giants quar­ter­backs Eli Man­ning (10) and Daniel Jones warm up dur­ing prac­tice Mon­day in East Ruther­ford, N.J.

Adam Hunger / As­so­ci­ated Press

Giants quar­ter­back Daniel Jones throws dur­ing prac­tice Mon­day.

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