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Giants' Landon Collins ready to welcome Jets' Sam Darnold to the NFL

Giants safety Landon Collins walks off the field

Giants safety Landon Collins walks off the field at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Aug. 21, 2018. Credit: Brad Penner

Landon Collins decided to have some fun at the expense of Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, as veteran football players tend to do with highly touted first-year players.

“He’s a rookie. We feast on rookies sometimes,” the Giants safety said after Wednesday’s practice (the Giants had no media access Thursday). “It’s always an exciting game. To see him play, he’s going to have a fantastic career once he gets it going, and . . . I know he’s going to do a great job at the Jets, but you’re playing against a good defense, and we’re going to have fun with it.”

Collins said he expects to play the first three quarters against the Jets on Friday night at MetLife Stadium. But Giants coach Pat Shurmur didn’t divulge specific playing-time plans after Wednesday’s practice, just saying “starters typically play more” in the third preseason game.

The third game of the preseason is generally thought of as the NFL’s regular-season dress rehearsal.

Jets coach Todd Bowles hasn’t named a starting quarterback against the Giants, but Darnold started the second game of the preseason and could get the nod again.

The Jets were in a similar situation in 2013 when Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith were locked in a quarterback battle. Sanchez injured his shoulder in the third preseason game against the Giants and missed the entire season.

Smith quarterbacked the Jets to an 8-8 mark.

The Giants said they are more concerned with their play than which Jets quarterback is on the field Friday.

“For us, it’s about us doing what we need to do,” linebacker Alec Ogletree said. “It doesn’t really matter who’s on the other side, the other team, whatever. It’s about what the Giants go out there and do as a defense.”

Shurmur said of the Jets-Giants rivalry: “I’ve heard a little bit, but I’m also a guy who thinks you can root for the Yankees and then root for the Mets. But you know I’m a little off-center. We’re going to go out and compete with the Jets and try to do what we can to get our team right, and do what we can to try to win the game.”

Eli Manning, entering his 15th season and no stranger to playing the Jets, isn’t concerning himself with the name of the other team during preseason.

“In all honesty, I look at it as the third preseason game and a chance for us to go out there and play for an extended period against a good defense and a good team,” Manning said. “You want to go out there and execute well and feel good about where you are.”

Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who is unlikely to play Friday, said he wishes Darnold the best and understands the two of them will be compared throughout their careers. The Giants took Barkley with the second overall pick in this year’s draft, passing on the chance to choose Manning’s future successor, and the Jets took Darnold one spot later.

“That’s kind of something that doesn’t really cross my mind,” Barkley said about the comparisons, adding that he became friendly with Darnold throughout the draft process. “We play two different positions . . . but I don’t really look too deep in that. I can only focus and control what I can control. I’m just thankful the Giants picked me and I’m here, I’m a New York Giant.”

With Tom Rock

New York Sports