Two-time New York Giants Super Bowl champion Eli Manning’s decision to retire after the 2019 season did not come as too much of a surprise.
The potential future Hall of Fame quarterback had been a shell of his former self in recent years. New York’s decision to draft Daniel Jones No. 6 overall last year coupled with him replacing Manning under center during the 2019 season seemed to act as writing on the wall.
In talking about a young man he was teammates with for just one season, Manning has nothing but great things to say. He also made sure to note that Jones’ ability to step up as a team leader will be made easier now that Manning himself has turned in his cleats.
“I think it will be easier this year for him to kinda step up as that leader,” Manning said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Last year was probably awkward for him, me being there, me being in meeting rooms and just kinda the whole dynamic. Me being gone and hey, he is the quarterback, he is the guy, for him to have that control and the authority over receivers and offensive line.”
Despite Jones being a top-six pick last year, the Giants’ locker room was still led by Mr. Manning. That’s what comes with playing on the same team for 16 seasons.
Once Jones did take over as the Giants’ starter, he was super impressive. The Duke product threw for 3,027 yards with 24 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 13 games (12 starts). While he did have issues holding on to the ball (league-high 18 fumbles), Jones more than proved himself to be the Giants’ future at quarterback.
“I think he’s proven to be tough and works hard, he’s done all the right things, he has gone in with that approach of keeping his head down and not saying more than he has to, working hard and earning the respect from the teammates,” Manning continued. “Now he can elevate that where now he’s in charge. The questions are coming to him from the coordinator, he’s gonna have to give his voice and his opinion on things.”
With the man who acted as his guide in transitioning from college to the professional ranks firmly behind him, the expectation here is that Jones will have a breakout sophomore campaign in 2020.