New York Giants quarterback Drew Lock at a team OTA...

New York Giants quarterback Drew Lock at a team OTA on May 23, 2024. Credit: AP/Adam Hunger

Drew Lock’s first interactions with the current Giants coaches came six years ago when he was a draft prospect out of Missouri and they were still in Buffalo. Shea Tierney, one of the assistants on the Bills’ staff, met with the quarterback and the two hit it off.

“Toward the end [of the meeting], I kind of had a feeling that Shea was just a normal guy,” Lock said this past week. “We were talking, we were chilling. I asked Shea, ‘Do you talk to everybody? Because you guys just drafted Josh Allen. I'm going to be respectful and have my conversation and tell you everything I know, but there's no way you're picking me right now.’ ”

Lock was correct. He wound up going to Denver in the second round. The Bills did not select a quarterback.

Added Lock with a smile: “I think they kind of had their guy.”

Now the two sides are reunited with a Giants team that almost certainly does not. Sure, in theory and in title, Daniel Jones fills that role. But Jones has had one successful season in his career that he parlayed into a $160 million contract and is coming off an ACL tear and a pair of neck injuries — and the team just spent the past few months scouring the Earth for a better option in the draft.

Lock is here for a reason.

If Jones’ physical recovery is derailed in any way, if his play stutters at the start of the season the way it did in 2023, if Brian Daboll just doesn’t think things are working with Jones at the position, don’t be surprised if he makes a change and turns things over to Lock.

Daboll clearly is feeling the pressure to succeed in his third season as the Giants' head coach, if not from ownership and the fan base, then simply from his own expectations. And throughout his career, he’s shown that he is not afraid to shake things up when his team is faltering.

This is the coach, remember, who yanked Jalen Hurts for freshman Tua Tagovailoa at halftime of a national championship game when he was the offensive coordinator at Alabama. He’s the coach who apparently has taken over the play-calling from offensive coordinator Mike Kafka this spring and seems unlikely to relinquish that duty once the season begins.

If he’s going to fail, he at least wants to be the one at the yoke of the crash landing.

He won’t be afraid to bench Jones if he feels it's necessary.

This spring Lock is affording Daboll, Tierney — now the passing game coordinator as well as the quarterbacks coach — and the rest of the organization a glimpse of what that might look like. While Jones has been held out of 11-on-11 reps as part of his knee rehab (he is participating in other drills and 7-on-7 sessions and is running well on the side), Lock has been the first-team quarterback whenever the entire team is on the field.

“Yeah, he's coming along every day, learning new material,” Daboll said. “It's different when you're at quarterback. There's a lot to learn, a lot to process. He's done a great job in the meetings. He's improved every day. We’re happy we have him.”

Said Tierney of Lock: “A great addition to the room. He brings a really good perspective . . . He’s been a seamless addition. The guys enjoy being around him, I enjoy being around him. He’s not afraid to contribute.”

Lock, perhaps, has the most self-awareness of the situation, just as he did when he was meeting with the Bills. He can read the room and understand the deal.

“I know how to be a backup and just be ready if and when your time comes,” Lock said. “As a backup, you hope it never comes. You hope your team is playing good football and you hope Daniel stays healthy. But do everything you can to be ready. When that time comes, just make the best of it.”

That’s what Lock did last year for Seattle when he stepped in for a briefly injured Geno Smith and led the team on a 75-yard touchdown drive at MetLife Stadium against the Giants. It's what he did in December when led the Seahawks on a game-winning 92-yard touchdown drive to beat the Eagles.

"It definitely builds some confidence," Lock said of that performance. "I'm going to keep that going forward. I know I can do it. Whenever the time comes, if it comes, I'll be ready."

No matter what they say to the contrary, bet the Giants will be ready for that too.

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