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Drew Lock improves with important QB1 spring reps for Giants as Daniel Jones ramps up to return



Daniel Jones is still the Giants’ $40 million a year quarterback and projected Week 1 starter. And Jones means business in 2024, judging by the bearded alter-ego that took the practice field in a red No. 8 jersey in East Rutherford, N.J., this week with nothing to lose.

But Drew Lock’s strong Thursday practice provided an important reminder that the rehabbing Jones has not been “QB1” this spring when the full, 11-man offense has taken the field.

Lock, 27, is the one who has commanded the first stringers. Lock is the one who has been able to build chemistry with Malik Nabers and the Giants’ other top receivers in the closest thing to simulated real football.

Lock is the one who was able to rebound from a poor OTA No. 3 practice two weeks ago to look faster and crisper and more comfortable during team work in OTA No. 9.

Lock left the Seattle Seahawks and moved across the country because he was told he’d have a chance to compete to start in New York. And while Jones still profiles as the more physically gifted player, the more expensive Giants investment and the top QB on the depth chart when healthy, Lock’s ample work this spring could set the table for an interesting summer and fall.

“It’s been huge,” Lock said recently. “I know what it’s like to not get a ton of reps in OTAs and kind of feel your way through, not throw to the number one receivers, and then when you get out there in Week 11, you’re throwing to D.K. [Metcalf] and Tyler [Lockett] for kind of the first time that year.”

“So being able to just have those reps under your belt definitely builds confidence going into the year,” Lock added. “You hope the time doesn’t come, but if it does, you feel like you’re ready. You’ve been with the guys in the huddle. They know your face. They know your cadence. They know how you operate. Just makes you feel more comfortable going into the year.”

Lock has had to drink through a firehose to learn Brian Daboll’s offense, which assistant GM Brandon Brown recently referred to as “not simple.” And Brown seemed to temper expectations for how long that runway could be.

“He’s got some moxie and compete to him,” Brown said of Lock. “Just really happy to see him learn. Really it’s going to be one of those things, it’s going to be a learning process for him. It’s not going to be overnight. We’re happy to support him in every way we can as we go forward toward training camp.”

Still, Lock seems relieved to finally be playing for an offensive head coach in Daboll — who also has been calling plays this spring — coming off Lock’s time with Pete Carroll in Seattle. And it’s possible that is helping him acclimate and build confidence quickly as mandatory minicamp approaches next Tuesday and Wednesday.

“It’s a lot of fun. First offensive head coach, so that’s been fun,” he said. “It’s been fun to have him in my headset.”

Jones, for his part, has looked great recently in both his throwing and the rehab of his right ACL.

He is still QB1 and the first one up ahead of Lock during individual drills and 7-on-7. He hit Nabers, Jalin Hyatt and Wan’Dale Robinson for several completions during a 7-on-7 red zone period. And he is running well and doing a lot of extra work on the side during team periods.

It’s possible Jones could even take some 11-on-11 reps at minicamp next week, although Daboll would not tip his hand either way.

“He’s still making progress,” Daboll said. “He [was] in 7-on-7 [Thursday]. That’s been the plan all along. We’ll assess after this week. But he’s coming along, making progress.”

Lock looked comfortable in 11-on-11, though. He fired downfield for two Nabers touchdowns, using his mobility to extend plays for throws on the perimeter, and finding guys like Darius Slayton, Robinson, tight end Lawrence Cager and rookie running back Tyrone Tracy Jr. with completions.

Granted, some of those passes were off target, which required help from the receivers. But Lock wasn’t hesitating, and he was giving his teammates a chance to make plays, which marked noticeable progress.

Who knows whether he’ll actually get to compete for the Week 1 job, of course.

Co-owner John Mara said in March that he had no problem with the Giants drafting a quarterback and pitting him in a competition with Jones but didn’t say anything about Jones and Lock going head-to-head for the gig.

Jones also has clearly been the better player over the course of his career, even after a dismal and injury-riddled 2023.

Lock is popular with a significant segment of the Giants’ fan base that is following the team’s lead on hedging its bets against Jones this offseason.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Lock said, disputing his popularity. “I would say I appreciate the people who respect my game and know what I can do, but you’re the backup, and you’re here to help Daniel.”

He is hoping to be able to help this team, however, and it’s possible this heavy spring workload will be just what he needed to put his best on the field when the time comes this summer and fall.

“I know I can do it,” Lock said of starting and winning in the NFL. “Whenever that time comes, if it comes, I’ll be ready.”

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