Daniel Jones and Logan Ryan have a competition.
They try to beat each other to the team’s facility each morning and lay claim to the title of "first one in the door." It’s something Ryan said he’s been doing with quarterbacks for most of his career, going all the way back to his days in New England when he would race Tom Brady to the punch-in clock in Foxborough.
"Today I beat Daniel," Ryan, the veteran safety, bragged on Wednesday, "but that was one of maybe two days this entire season."
Jones, it turns out, usually wins.
That has yet to be the case on the field for the Giants, though.
With an 0-4 start this year, Jones has a 3-13 record as a starter through 16 games, which is the equivalent of one full regular season. He’s been at the helm of the league’s worst offense so far in 2020, has gone three straight games without a touchdown pass, and his turnovers have played a large role in at least two of the team’s defeats.
In his one full season as a starter, Jones said he has "learned a lot of football."
"I feel like I’ve improved as a player as far as my understanding of the game," he said. "I think my understanding of situational football and certain opportunities to take advantage of, when to get the ball out of my hand. It’s something I am continuing to work on and improve. But I certainly feel like I have improved and made a lot of progress up to this point."
But of the 33 quarterbacks who have thrown at least 14 attempts this season, Jones’ passer rating of 68.3 is second to last, barely ahead of Carson Wentz (66.9).
Joe Judge said earlier in the week that he is sticking with the second-year passer through his struggles and growing pains. The team, too, is waiting patiently for things to click for Jones.
"I believe in him," Ryan said. "I have full faith in him. However it’s going right now, it’s four games and however many starts he has in his career, it’s a young career. He just has to keep his confidence and keep growing."
The Giants clearly have no plans to swerve from the plan they have for Jones. But on a day like Wednesday, when fellow 2019 first-round quarterback Dwayne Haskins was benched in Washington, it can be difficult to wait.
Jones knows that, too. Whenever someone points out that he has only played this many games, only been in the league that many years, is only so many years old, part of him cringes.
"I realize that this is my second year and I do have a lot to learn, I’m always learning and improving," he said. "But I don’t think you use that ever as an excuse. I’m expected to play well, to understand what we are trying to do, and to execute it. I’m certainly learning, always learning, and trying to improve, but you can’t see it as an excuse and I certainly don’t."
So he keeps coming to work. The earlier the better.
Not only because it gives him a head start on the day, but because of the guy who is usually the second player through the door.
"We’re the first two in here," Ryan said. "We talk a lot. He asks me questions about defense, I ask him a lot of questions about offense. I’m trying to make it hard on quarterbacks. I’m trying to make it hard on him every day and he makes it hard on me. We do talk a lot."
Ryan said he stays away from critiques specific to Jones’ position.
"I was a high school, quarterback, I couldn’t even play in college, so I don’t dip my toe in it too much," Ryan said. "What he does in the games, that’s on him, but I’m doing my best to be an open book and prepare him the best I can for every Sunday."
Jones does have plenty of solid moments in the games. And he seems to be handling himself the way a team needs its starting quarterback to act.
"He has no problem being a leader, he has no problem working hard, he has no problem putting the time in," Ryan said. "I think the Giants have the right guy when it comes to that."
There is just one more step to take. Winning.
And not just on weekday mornings.