These relationships do not grow overnight, and the Giants have time before Daniel Jones and Kenny Golladay must become passing-game dance partners, anticipating each other’s moves without hesitation. For now, consider this a budding kinship.
“I didn’t really come into it with any expectations to be honest, but as of right now, that’s my boy,’’ Golladay said Tuesday after a sweltering minicamp practice. “I can’t wait to just really work with him deeper in training camp and especially when the season starts.’’
Jones and Golladay hooked up several times during the session, with the defense on the field offering only mild push-back, in keeping with the non-contact theme of this three-day camp. There will be a far more aggressive stance from opposing defenses, and the Giants expect Golladay to earn every bit of the four-year, $72 million contract they put together to haul him in as a free agent.
“There’s enough evidence with Kenny that we are going to work it to use his strengths, and we plan on him having an impact,’’ coach Joe Judge said, “but that depends how he produces on a daily basis.’’
The daily grind includes Jones, entering his third NFL season — his first with a bona fide towering target to throw to. Golladay, 27, at 6-foot-4 can go up and make contested catches. In his four years with the Lions, he showed an ability and affinity for out-leaping smaller defensive backs. Long wingspan and considerable vertical leap are traits a quarterback can grow accustomed to having on his side.
Jones and Golladay are in the nascent stages of getting to know one-another. They worked together in Phoenix and also in Charlotte, N.C., during throwing sessions orchestrated by Jones. Already, some attributes Golladay possesses are plainly obvious.
“I think the second you stand next to him, you understand he’s a long guy, and that showed up on his tape before we got him here,’’ Judge said.
“Yeah, I mean, I think you could tell, yeah, that’s pretty easy I think to tell just by his stature, his size and length, his athleticism,’’ Jones said. “He’s a big target and had a lot of success in this league going up and catching balls over guys and winning those contested catches. So yeah, that’s something you could tell as soon as you get on the field.’’
This is all new for Golladay. He learned primarily from one quarterback, Matt Stafford, with the Lions, and the first time in a second NFL stop can be jarring for any player. Golladay seems like the type to not want or need it all right away. He appears comfortable familiarizing himself with his new surroundings one day at a time, one new teammate at a time.
“Just all the guys in the building,’’ Golladay said, “I pretty much have someone new that I haven’t seen every day just coming up and greeting me and making sure that I’m comfortable. That’s a great start for me, me just being a new guy and everyone in the building, including my teammates, making sure I got a spot out here, telling me about restaurants and just making me feel at home.’’
The big money, he insists, does not heap pressure on him because, he said, he is confident in what he can do on the field, in his work ethic and realizes Judge will be on him. He says he hopes offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will be on him, as well.
“This is just a new chapter in my life right now,’’ Golladay said. “I definitely feel like I have to go out there and prove to other people, including myself, it’s different for me. I got drafted to Detroit. Played all four years there. This is a whole different environment right now. So I’m just ready to accept the challenge and just ready to go to work.’’
Jones has observed his new receiver and an impression is already forming.
“You can tell he’s a true pro,’’ Jones said. “He understands offensive football. He’s still obviously learning our system but you can tell he’s got a good understanding of football and where to be, kind of timing and understanding concepts. He’s been fun to work with. Obviously his talent and skill level, you can tell as soon as you get on the field with him he’s a good player, smart player, and I’m excited to keep working with him.’’
Golladay in 47 games for the Lions had 183 receptions for 3,068 yards and 21 touchdowns. The Giants have Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton returning at wide receiver and took Kadarius Toney in the first round of the draft. There is plenty there, but no one stands out from the pack as highly as Golladay.