President and CEO John Mara -- August 13, 2019
Q: Does this feel like 2004 at all, bringing in a young quarterback and looking ahead?
A: I guess you can make that comparison, yeah. We werenít quite sure when that was all going to take place and how it would all kind of work out, but yeah, thereís a certain similarity to it. I like to think that we have a better team than we had in 2004, but weíll see about that.
Q: What have you seen from Daniel (Jones) so far?
A: So far, so good. Heís everything that we thought he would be. Heís been terrific on the practice field, did a good job the other night. I think people need to temper their enthusiasm a little bit. Itís one preseason game, one series, but so far, so good.
Q: When you look at Daniel and praise him and think of things about him, does any part of you also drift toward Eli (Manning), and when you would have that whole dynamic come and go?
A: Yeah, a little bit, but Eli is our starting quarterback and will start the season. Heís obviously been a great representative of our franchise for a lot of years, and will continue to be, so weíll just have to see how that one unfolds.
Q: Ideally, how would you like it to unfold this season for Eli?
A: I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field. That would be an ideal world. Youíd like to see that. Again, at the end of the day, itís going to be a decision by the head coach as to when or if Daniel ends up playing this year.
Q: Is that true, really? Obviously, you want the team to win a lot of games and make the playoffs, but if Daniel doesnít play one snap as a rookie, youíd be okay with that?
A: Iíd be very happy about that because it means that weíre having a great year and Eliís having a great year.
Q: Do you think thatís possible?
A: Sure, why not?
Q: John, what do you think that would mean for next year if thatís the case?
A: Letís worry about next year next year, seeing that weíve got to get through this season first.
Q: John, you said that the 2004 team was not as talented as this team. What do you see from this team?
A: Well, I think weíve done a pretty good job in the draft the last couple years and weíve got some good, young talent on both sides of the ball. I think our offensive line is better than itís been, so I think thereís reason for some optimism there, but until we start playing some games and winning some games, thatís all it is right now. I also like the feel of the locker room, so weíll see.
Q: You said youíll worry about next year next year. Youíre fine with holding off on anything with Eli, because obviously heís in the last year of a contract, until after the season?
A: I think weíre in a one year at a time mode right now.
Q: Do you imagine that if and when a decision comes on the quarterback situation this season that youíll have to approve it?
A: Well, Iíd like to be informed of it before I read it from you guys. But, at the end of the day, just like it was in í04, it was Tomís (Coughlin) decision back then, and it will be Patís (Shurmur) decision this time. Again, hopefully, itís a decision he doesnít have to make until way in the future.
Q: You mentioned the locker room. Was the locker room an issue last year?
A: I think it was not as strong as it could have been. I think thereís just a different feel to it this year. I think some players have commented about that, too, so weíll see. A lot of times, I think that gets taken out of proportion. At the end of the day, if you start winning some games, it builds some enthusiasm, it builds some good feelings, some positive vibes, and I think thatís what we need to do more than anything else. Right now, it feels pretty good.
Q: At this point, what has given you faith in Eli? Itís obviously been a few years since he had the type of success he had earlier in his career.
A: I think heís played well when the protection has been there in front of him, when he has confidence in the protection. I thought that the second half of last year he played much better, our protection got a little bit better, and obviously Saquon (Barkley) was having a big year. So, I think our offensive line is better this year than it has been, and heís had a terrific camp so far.
Q: John, Eliís the longest tenured player in franchise history. How much thought has been given to how hard it might be when you have to say goodbye to him?
A: Itíll be a very difficult, emotional moment, to be sure, but Iím not thinking about that just yet. Heís still the starting quarterback.
Q: Around the league, Dave Gettleman has taken a lot of heat for the moves he has made, for his attitude, for a lot of things. People are taking a lot of shots at him. Has any of your confidence wavered at all throughout this whole process?
A: Not at all. I think the best thing for me about Dave is he makes decisions that he feels are in the best interest of the franchise and he doesnít give a damn what people think about it, be it the media, or be it fans, or anybody. He has the courage of his convictions, and you have to have that. Heís set about to try and rebuild this team and change the culture a bit in the locker room. I think, as I said before, our last two draft classes were pretty strong, and thatís what gives me confidence going forward. I think weíre moving in the right direction. Again, until we start winning games, itís hard to sell people on that notion, but thatís what I believe.
Q: Did he give you pause at any time about all the talent that went out the door? Not just Odell (Beckham Jr.), but Landon (Collins), (Olivier) Vernon, a lot of guys.
A: I wouldnít say I had anyóthere was never any doubt in Daveís ability or in what his motivation was, or what his skill level was. You donít like to see all that talent go out the door, but letís face it, we had one winning season in í16 and the other five or six years, nothing, not since we won the last Super Bowl, so we needed some drastic changes. Again, he had the courage of his convictions, he knew they would be unpopular moves, but he went and made them anyway.
Q: What do you need to see this season to consider it a success, or a step forward?
A: We need to win some games. I want to feel like at the end of the season weíre moving in the right direction. Iím not going to say it has to be a minimum number of games that we have to win, or we have to make the playoffs. I want to feel when Iím walking off the field after the last game of the season, whenever that is, that this franchise is headed in the right direction. Thatís, to me, the most important thing.
Q: What is your overall patience? Obviously guys donít last very long if they donít win?
A: Iím not very patient, I take the losses pretty hard, but I understand that you have to make decisions that are in the best interests of your team in the long run and not worry about the short term as much. It doesnít make it any easier when you are losing these games, but I understand what he is doing. I think he has us headed in the right direction.
Q: You have a big investment in your future with Daniel Jones. Are your coach and GM tied in with that?
A: Absolutely. I heard something the other day, I forget who the commentator was, that the coach was not crazy about our first-round pick. Nothing can be further from the truth and what sold me on (Daniel) was Dave, Pat and our scouts, Mike Shula, everybody was sold on this kid. Thatís what made it easier for me to okay. Patís been a huge advocate right from the draft. Everything heís done so far has been what we expected and what we hoped for.
Q: What was your role in the whole decision to draft Daniel?
A: I just had the final approval, on all decisions like that. For me, if the general manager and the head coach have a conviction, then Iím going to let them go with it.
Q: Did you watch any college tape of Daniel?
A: I watched a little bit. One of the first questions I asked him when I met him was: do you have thick skin. Then after we drafted him, I asked him: do you understand why I asked you that question. He smiled, he can handle it, he can handle being the quarterback of the New York Giants.
Q: Did it give you pause because of the Eli dynamic?
A: Not really. When you have a conviction about a player, particularly at that position, you better go ahead and take him. So, there was no pause.
Q: Do you see a lot of similarities between Daniel and Eli the way other people do?
A: When I first sat down with Daniel, it was eerie to me how similar. It was like talking to a 22-year-old Eli, which is a good thing.
Q: Are you satisfied with the job Pat Shurmur has done? The team only won five games last season.
A: Iím not satisfied with winning five games, but I think he has us headed in the right direction. I think the players believe in him and we have a lot of confidence in him.