The Giants have one more game to play before they head into their first offseason as Daniel’s Team.
For most of the offensive players, this will be their first experience being led by Daniel Jones away from the facility. Until this point in their collective tenures with the team, they’ve been collected by Eli Manning for extra throwing and informal minicamps in the spring. It’s been the two-time Super Bowl MVP who has dictated when and where they should show up for the voluntary work that is required to foster chemistry when the games begin in the fall.
So this spring should be a lot different for them, right?
Maybe not. In fact, they might not even change their destination.
When Jones sends out the call for his receivers, chances are he’ll gather them at Duke, his alma mater, which is exactly where Manning would convene his vernal conventions. Duke coach David Cutcliffe was Manning’s offensive coordinator at the University of Mississippi.
When Jones was Duke’s quarterback, he even took part in those workouts.
“He was there whenever we all showed up anyway, so it might be the same thing,” Sterling Shepard said.
Jones said he has yet to make any decisions about get-togethers, but as the starting quarterback heading into 2020, it will be on him to do so. That’s part of the job these days.
“We’ll figure that out,” Shepard said of the details.
He even offered his services as a veteran of such events to help coordinate this one.
“I could take the point on it,” he said. “But I’m sure he will, knowing him.”
Wherever they end up and whoever shows up, this will be a critical offseason for Jones and his targets. It will be their first chance to work together outside the facility, to fine-tune some of the aspects of their games that just couldn’t be polished to a luster because of the hectic nature of the season and the frantic pace of bringing a rookie into the building.
“I definitely think us being young, as much experience as any of us can get is a good thing,” said fellow rookie Darius Slayton, who is eager to participate in the workouts. “I know a lot of people say year one to year two, people tend to make their biggest jump. You get a year under your belt, you get a chance to see what it’s like to be a professional and be around other professionals.”
But Slayton, too, is hazy on what the coming months will bring.
“This will be our first offseason so we don’t really know what will happen,” he said, “but I’ll try to find somebody who is a good veteran guy and take some notes from him.”
That could even be Jones.
“I’m sure we’ll get together,” said Shepard, who recently bought a house in New Jersey and said he plans to spend time this offseason working out in and around the Giants’ facility . . . and close to Jones. “I’ll be here a lot and I know he will too. We’ll link up at some point. One thing you don’t have to worry about with Daniel is him trying to get in throws. He wants to throw after the game, you know what I mean? That’s real talk.”