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Eli Manning throws support behind Daniel Jones ahead of Year 4

Andrew Buller-Russ

It’s clear that Daniel Jones hasn’t lived up to expectations since the New York Giants made the former Duke quarterback the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Selected to be the heir apparent to two-time Super Bowl-winning QB Eli Manning, Jones has never won more than five games in a season.

While it’s hard to fill the shoes of one of the Giants’ all-time greats, Jones hasn’t even proven enough to earn a second contract with the team, just three years after he was seen as the potential future of the franchise.

While there are several arguments to be made, citing different reasons as to why Jones has struggled, the point is, he hasn’t gotten the job done. The results have led many Giants fans to already write the 25-year-old QB off, while another legion of fans is still just as supportive of the athletic signal-caller as they were in 2019.

But Eli Manning? He’s somewhere in between, though he does believe in the new direction led by general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll. He also has a few thoughts about Jones and how much more difficult his path has been since arriving in the NFL.

Eli Manning compares his situation to Daniel Jones’

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

One thing Eli Manning didn’t have to experience until his later years was the constant turnover Daniel Jones has seen during his Big Blue tenure. No, that’s not a veiled shot at Danny Dimes’ turnover struggles thus far, we’re getting there.

Manning had stability early in his career, with Tom Coughlin as his head coach for his first 12 seasons.

Jones on the other hand? Three different head coaches as he enters his fourth season.

It’s an area many spectators don’t put a lot of thought into, but for a young quarterback, having familiarity and generally, a strong comfort level goes a long way. It’s something Manning touched on recently when speaking at the annual Manning Passing Academy.

“By my fifth year, I had been in the same offense the whole time, I knew it, I could coach it up, new guys are coming in, I was speaking the same language as my offensive coordinator and as Coach Coughlin, and kind of preaching the same stuff. And with [Jones], it’s all new, and it’s learning, and he’s consistently trying to learn and learn and learn, and it just takes some time before it all sinks in,” Manning said to NFL Network.

One can only imagine how difficult it is when trying to focus on developing your physical skills when you have to slow down and think about the mental aspects of processing information, each and every offseason. It leads to a slower thought process and likely, more mistakes, or in Jones’ case, possibly hesitancy to let ‘er rip, which isn’t ideal either.

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While these factors are nothing new to football players, they can be a strong deterrent to their development, especially in the early stages. It’s no wonder Jones has had some issues. Not to worry though, as Manning now believes the G-Men are headed in the right direction.

“I think with Coach Daboll, and what they’re doing, and that staff, and [new GM] Joe Schoen, having been around the facility some, the atmosphere has changed. So I’m excited for Daniel, I know he’s worked extremely hard and you know, been through a lot of offenses, a lot of coaching changes, so hopefully this can be the right one.”

ELi Manning on Daniel Jones

Jones faces a lot of challenges as he heads into his fourth season. He may have already won the locker room over, but he still has to win a large portion of the fanbase over. That alone is an uphill climb.

At the first sight of struggle, the New York media will be all over this young man, ripping him to shreds each chance they get. Which is why getting off to a hot start in Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans could make that matchup one of the most crucial of the year.

While Danny Dimes can run with the best of them, and he manages to avoid throwing a high amount of interceptions, he has to find a way to avoid fumbling, whether he’s in the pocket or on the move, but even that’s been an area of growth, going from 19 fumbles as a rook down to just seven in 11 starts last season.

Jones has flashed talent in the past and while it’s hard to argue the Giants have put him in the best position to succeed, others have done more with less. At this point, with a reinforced offensive line, an overhauled skill-position group that includes Saquon Barkley now being a year-plus removed from ACL surgery, there’s real reason for optimism, but it all revolves around Danny Dimes. If he fails, Tyrod Taylor won’t hesitate to buckle in his chinstrap and take the field.

Related: New York Giants teammate calls Daniel Jones the hardest-working QB he’s seen