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Sent: 08-20-19

E-GIANTS
Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.

BROWNSí BAKER MAYFIELD CATCHES THE OBJ VIRUS
AS HE CRITICIZES DANIEL JONES

By Dave Klein
Perhaps Odell Beckham carries some mysterious virus that affects those who cluster near him.

This time itís Cleveland Brownsí quarterback Baker Mayfield (who hasnít yet had a gold jacket reserved for him in Canton), saying that he was "stunned" that the Giants spent the sixth overall draft pick on quarterback Daniel Jones.

"I cannot believe the Giants took him," Mayfield said Tuesday. It blows my mind. "Some people overthink it, thatís where they go wrong. They forget you have to win, too."

Jones was 17-19 for Duke in three seasons, "and either you have a history of winning and being that guy for your team, or you donít," Mayfield said.

Well, a year ago Mayfield, an Oklahoma product who first tried Texas Tech and was displeased with the teamís overall performance as well as the coaching staffís decision that there would be competition for his job (he thought he had won it and didnít feel like he wanted to be challenged) was the first overall selection of the Browns, who were 0-16 in 2017.

He played to a record of 7-9, and one might expect some improvement from a record as dismal as that. There were scores of scouts who felt Mayfield was a reach as the first overall pick, too.

Yet when cornered at the Giantsí training facilities, Jones Ė who has been nearly sensational in his two preseason appearances Ė attempted to defuse the situation.

"I try not to listen to much," he said. "I think Iíve done a pretty good job of that. I heard that before, I kind of have the same mindset, I certainly have a lot to focus on here, I have a lot to worry about here and Iím focused on that. Itís been good, but just focused on what Iím supposed to be doing here. I donít know him [Mayfield], I have never spoken to him. He has his opinion, but a lot of people have opinions."

Another rumor circulating around the team is that head coach Pat Shurmur wants to start Jones, but owner John Mara wonít agree to that. Itís nonsense. Veteran Eli Manning will be the teamís starter when the season starts, barring injury, and he will continue in that role Ė again, barring injury.

Beckham, incidentally, was quoted in a magazine feature the other day this way: "The Giants traded me to Cleveland for me to die there Ö of course it was personal [between him and general manager Dave Gettleman].

Head coach Pat Shurmur weighed in on Mayfieldís statements as well, and when asked about it, he said: "Thatís not original commentary, is it? We had a reason for why we did it [took Jones at the sixth spot] and we do feel like he can help this team win. Weíve got a lot of reasons for why Daniel is our quarterback. Mayfield is in a long line of people who criticized us, so thatís his business."

Donít over-react to "Daniel is our quarterback," please. Manning is THE quarterback, Jones is the second quarterback and it is doubtful if Mayfield could claim that position if he, too, was part of the Giantsí roster.

EXTRA POINTS Ė Shurmur admitted that Jones would get "a lot of work" against the Cincinnati Bengals in the third preseason game Thursday night, but how he works it "will reveal itself." He smiled. "Iím getting fond of that statement," he said (especially when it revolves around the quarterback situation, one assumes.

Itís getting time for the coaches to consider hard decisions involving the final 53-man roster, and the feeling seems to be that several "surprises" might be waiting at the deadline, both the identities of which players make the squad and which veterans do not.

Without making any definitive pronouncements, Shurmur appears to be pleased with the summertime work exhibited by linebackers Jonathan Anderson and Ryan Connelly, running back Jon Hilliman and wide receiver T.J. Jones (the first three are rookies while Jones was signed as a free agent with four years of NFL experience).

In fact, more rookies than in a long, long time should make the final roster this year, a tribute to Gettleman and his band of scouts. Ö The game Thursday night is scheduled for a 7:00 kickoff and will be available on NBC-Ch. 4 and WFAN (660) radio.

Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
- Team Giants

NOW - Send a request to davesklein@aol.com for a free week's worth of news!

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