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Day 1 was all about the quarterbacks .. and that shouldn’t be a surprise

Daniel Jones, Eli Manning were centers of attention

NFL: New York Giants-Training Camp Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — In the days leading up to training camp, I wrote that “What happens with [Eli] Manning and [Daniel] Jones is really going to be the story of the season.”

Aside from Sterling Shepard and his unfortunate thumb injury, Day 1 of training camp was really all about those two quarterbacks. The young gun trying to get ready as he begins his climb to the top. The old hand trying to hang on, looking for one more ride, trying to defend his turf.

Get used to this Giants fans. Manning-Jones. Jones-Manning. EliDan. The two-headed Giants quarterback. Even if only one of them can play.

Fortunately, both guys are class acts who will handle all of the scrutiny well, and will maintain a good relationship along the way.

Largely, that’s because they really are — personality-wise — a young and an old (by NFL standards) version of the same guy.

“He’s so much like Eli,” Kurt Warner said of Jones.

“It’s amazing,” Warner said after Jones’ news conference had concluded. “Even some of the phrases he uses remind you of Eli (Manning). You talk about what you see on film and some of their mannerisms as players, but it’s crazy. You hear them talk and it’s like ‘Oh my gosh!’ These guys are like the same guy, it’s just Eli 15 years younger. It is fascinating. But again, not a bad guy to model yourself after, from a lot of different standpoints.”

This is how Jones spun a question about competing with Manning:

“Since I have gotten here in the spring, since we have started OTA’s as a room, as a position group, we’ve worked really well together. We have found a way to help each other, me in particular being the younger guy, we have found a way to kind of improve as a group, improve as a unit. That way helping the offense improve. I think seeing it as a competition against the defense right now, and just improving every day is where are focus is. I think that has been helpful so far in helping the team improve.”

Here’s Manning on Wednesday asked about competing with Jones:

“I think you deal with it in, hey, I have a job to go out there and do my best. It hasn’t changed for 16 years and it never will. You go out there and you’re competing against the defense. Whenever I’m up, I’m competing against the defense and I’m trying to get our players to play our best and make plays. That’s the mindset, you want to try and make improvements in practice, have goals to get better at certain things every day and make those strides of improvement at every practice. That’s the mindset that you concern yourself with.”

How will this play out?

Honoring the past. Trying to do the best they can in the present. Getting ready for the future. The Giants are trying to walk the line of doing all of these things. GM Dave Gettleman has often talked about the balancing act of dealing with the present and preparing for the future, and it’s not an easy one.

Warner, for his part, doesn’t expect the Giants to move on from Manning the way they moved on from him. Meaning, if they are in contention for a playoff berth Manning — in Warner’s view — would likely continue to play. The Giants were 5-4 when Tom Coughlin benched Warner for the rookie in 2004.

Warner was in his only season with the Giants. Manning is in his 16th, with two Super Bowl MVP trophies. Warner knows there is a difference in stature, calling Manning a franchise “icon” and saying what he’s done for the organization adds a “different factor” to the discussion.

“I don’t know if there’s a risk unless you let it prolong too far. And because normally when you’re in a situation like this, when you make that move from the veteran to the young guy is when you kind of feel like the season’s out of hand. It’s usually we’re going to go and as long as we still have a chance to make the playoffs, we’ll stay with the veteran guy,” Warner said. “And so, you know, I think there’s always a worry of, you know, do you prolong it? But I think you can go a whole season, another season and go, okay, you guys are guy. And if it starts to go downhill a little bit, you tell yourself in the off-season, okay, we’re going to move to Daniel, but you don’t have to make that move in the middle of the season, you know, for whatever reason. Um, so I think you can be a little more sensitive to that.”