Both players are 22 years of age with Barkley being older by just 107 days. The Giants’ top draft picks of the last two seasons (Barkley was No. 2 in 2018 while Jones was No. 6 in 2019) will take the field together for the first time on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3.
“I’m excited, but just more excited for him,” Barkley said Thursday after Jones’ second practice running the first-team offense. “I’m going to do whatever it takes, and I know we’re all going to do whatever it takes, to try to have his first start go the way we all want it to go. Our mindset this week is winning.”
Much ado was made over Jones being named the Giants’ starting quarterback and the demotion of Eli Manning. It was anticipated Jones would make his NFL debut at some point this season just not after the first two regular season games. It can be inferred the Giants have an eye to the future by starting Jones.
Barkley doesn’t think looking toward the future is necessarily a bad thing. However, he realizes the Giants have a job to do in the present.
“I guess you could say the future,” Barkley said. “Just more excited for him getting out there and playing in the NFL. We also understand that there is no need to panic, but we understand we’re 0-2 and we have to do things to get things going, get things rolling, and why not start it this week and go down there against Tampa, against a great team, a great defense, and great defensive coaches and try to come out there with a win.”
Jones praised Manning for being a great teammate and a mentor since he arrived in East Rutherford but also has an excellent mentor in Barkley, last season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year. He was asked what advice he gave to Jones. Barkley, who will play in just his 19th career NFL game against Tampa, answered with all the poise of a seasoned veteran.
“Be you,” Barkley said. “You don’t gotta be anybody else besides yourself. You’re here for a reason. You don’t gotta impress anybody else. The only people you gotta impress are the people in this locker room, the people in this facility. He already did that because (one) they’re the team that drafted him and (two) he already got much respect from us on this team just the way he carries himself as a person and his work ethic.”