Opening Statement: First, the injuries. Grant Haley had an illness. He was feeling better as the day went along. Cody Latimer is in the concussion protocol, and Zeitler is dealing with the shoulder that he dealt with last week. He should be fine but he didn’t go today. Dickerson was back practicing, Sterling is going through the protocol, he had a non-contact day. That’s why you saw him in the yellow jersey, he looked good running around. (Darius) Slayton was back out there and so that’s that with the injuries.
Obviously, the topic of conversation yesterday was the quarterback switch. I talked to all the parties involved yesterday morning and then they quickly got back to work and did Tuesday things where they were getting ready for the week. We have a switch in roles, but it should come as no surprise to anybody that that’s been a great relationship since the day we drafted Daniel. They have both helped each other, they’re both preparing to play if they have to play and they both assist each other, whoever the one that is playing, and I think that’s what we can expect from Eli. When you’re talking about people and emotions, those conversations, I’m going to keep that between me and certainly Eli. You can go back on any presser I’ve done and find the words that I have said about him all along, that hasn’t changed. That’s where we’re at, Daniel is our starter, Eli will back him up and we’re moving forward.
Q: Do you believe that Daniel Jones is the better quarterback right now?
A: Daniel Jones is ready to play, and we are going with him. Yes, and the reason I say that is we do everything we can to win football games and at this point we feel like he’s the guy we want to move forward with.
Q: When did you come to this decision, and what did you factor into it?
A: I think about all this stuff all the time, and again, it’s not all about Eli, there’s other factors involved, our team, where we’re at and moving forward. Most of the thought for me happened after the game.
Q: What makes now the right time? There is a school of thought that if you brought Eli Manning back and you paid Eli Manning to be the starting quarterback, two games is not enough of a window?
A: I don’t understand that narrative because Daniel Jones is going to have the benefit to start here 14 games, of a guy who is what being a Giant exemplifies. Not only as a player, but as a person. He’s going to have the benefit of this guy’s assistance as we go through it. My gut told me it was the right time, but that narrative that you don’t bring Eli back, I think that’s just something for us all to talk about.
Q: Who had to sign off on this decision?
A: I certainly made the decision, and I had the conversation with all the parties involved. At some point, they said, ‘Are you sure” and I said, ‘Yeah, I’m sure.’
Q: Does that include Dave Gettleman and John Mara?
A: Yes, absolutely, you don’t do these things without talking to the people that you just mentioned, and Steve (Tisch) and so on.
Q: Do you believe the move could jumpstart this football team?
A: We are trying to win a football game, and we feel like along the way here, Daniel Jones has showed us that when he gets his opportunity he is going to play well.
Q: Did anything he do from the day you drafted him to today say in your mind that this has happened faster than you expected?
A: Well, we are going to see. He’s going to play in his first regular season game Sunday against Tampa at 4 o’clock and so we will see. To this point, I think it’s safe to say in our minds he has checked off all the boxes in everything we have asked him to do. We’ll get him ready to go play, put a plan together that he can utilize, and we’ll go to work.
Q: What changed from Week Four of the preseason to Tuesday that Jones jumped Eli?
A: I think it was just my gut that it was time to make that move. I think when you draft a guy like we did, at some point, this was going to happen. I felt like this was the time.
Q: Do you expect Eli to be with this organization until the end of the season?
A: Based on what I heard yesterday and based on what I saw today, he’s doing everything in his power to be ready to play if he has to go in. He’s doing everything in his power to help Daniel get ready. I don’t foresee anything that would make me think he won’t be here.
Q: Usually when a team goes to a younger quarterback they try to trim the playbook a little bit. Does Daniel open up things that you weren’t able to touch with Eli?
A: No, and again you try to run plays against the team you are going to face. We did some things against Buffalo that we didn’t take full advantage of that would have helped us win that football game. Every play that goes in, the quarterback that’s running that play has a little bit different interpretation of it. His eyes sometimes go to a place slower or quicker than others. To answer your question, he’s got the ability to run our full offense.
Q: Will the offense look any different?
A: It should look the same schematically, I’ll let the changes in tactics reveal themselves, so to speak. We want to score more points. I think that’s what we are looking for. We’re looking for better results.
Q: In terms of speaking with Eli yesterday, were you struck by the weight of that moment? Of what he has been here, what he has represented here and that he may have taken his final snap as a starting quarterback of this organization?
A: Yes, I am well aware of all that. We were two guys talking that have a good relationship. I’ve said it all along, Eli is closer to 40 than he is 20 and so that’s how it all started. I sort of knew what I wanted to say when he walked in yesterday morning, but it changed on the run on for me because of the naturalness of two people talking. He quickly left and got to work doing Tuesday things.
Q: Was he more emotional than you during the conversation?
A: I think it was equal.
Q: You have also said in the past that you thought he had years remaining. Has anything in these first two weeks changed your thought, if he does decide he wants to keep playing?
A: Yeah, I think he can play in this league. As I did yesterday, we are making a change moving forward.
Q: Are there things that you have seen in practice that convinces you Daniel can make this transition?
A: Absolutely, the bulk of his work, in our eyes, happens behind the scenes. Just like the bulk of all of work happens behind the scenes. When I walk into the stadium at whatever time on Sunday, two or three hours before the game, I was still here at the building at 5:30 drinking coffee. That’s just an example of what we do is really behind the scenes. I think that’s what we are doing as coaches and as players and then we evaluate it, we put the guys out there and go play.
Q: Do you think having Eli on the headset helping Daniel will be a uniquely different advantage? Not many 16-year quarterbacks are on the headset in regular season games
A: Yeah, I think it’s terrific. I’m trying to answer your question because I don’t see the awkwardness to that or the advantage or disadvantage. I see here’s a guy that knows what he’s doing, knows our offense and if we have one ankle injury, he’s in there. When Daniel comes off, they are going to discuss what’s happened as we move forward, just like we would normally do.
Q: Well, he gives you a different perspective than Alex Tanney?
A: Both equally as good.
Q: You have always been conscious of the locker room and what message you are sending. Separate from the quarterbacks, did you have you talk to the team and tell them why you were making the move?
A: In some ways, this decision was separate, but in many ways, it was connected. The reason I say that is we are all connected in what happens. We haven’t done anything well enough to win the first two games. They are well aware of the fact that everybody in the room has to do what they do better. Yes, I did have that conversation with them.
Q: Do you feel like this team believes like you do that you are moving forward with Daniel to win football games. That this isn’t throwing up a flag and saying we are on to 2020?
A: Absolutely, again, that’s a narrative that I don’t understand. We’re onto playing Tampa Bay. I don’t want to steal somebody else’s phrase, but we are on to playing Tampa Bay and that’s where our focus is in the 2019 season. We all realize there’s a lot of football left to play, and you can see the uncertainty a team faces each week. You get a little juice, you win a football game, who knows what’s going to happen.
Q: What do you say to the notion that Eli is being scapegoated for problems in the first two games that really weren’t his fault?
A: I think I just answered that notion when I spoke to Art’s question. None of us have done what we need to do to win two games. That’s what I would say about that notion. I don’t believe in the scapegoat thing.
Q: How difficult did Daniel make the decision going into the regular season? Was there ever a thought that this kid is ready now, or did you have to see something in the first couple of weeks?
A: I’m going to go back to what I’ve said all along. I believe my words and some folks didn’t. Eli was our starter and we were moving forward getting Daniel ready to play and that’s how we started the year. With the idea that we were going to go out and win our first two games. By now, everybody should understand I try to keep these things simple. I think trying to confuse the issues here is not good.
Q: What should the fans expect from Daniel Jones in your mind?
A: He’s a young, competitive guy that is going to fight. I think he is going to display the toughness, skill and ability that we saw when we drafted him.
Q: Are there any other significant changes in the lineup?
A: Not that I know of.
Q: Will your defensive starters remain the same?
A: Generally speaking, yeah.
Q: What were the qualities, or was there a moment where it clicked for you, that told you that Daniel was ready? What did he do that took you to the point where you said, ‘hey, when we need him, he can go’?
A: Had we needed him in the first two games, he could’ve gone in. So, I feel like he’s ready to go and everybody around him is going to do what they can to support his efforts.
Q: When you talked to us Monday, did you know but out of respect for the principals, you didn’t tell us Monday because Tuesday hadn’t come to have those conversations?
A: This is about respect, too. I hold this organization in high regard, and we are always about respect. What we find sometimes— we are going to find a way to start winning games and earn that respect of winning. But behind the scenes, we are about respect, so I wanted to make sure I went through this process the right way. I’m going to hang on that word.
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