Eli Manning confident Daniel Jones can lead Giants under new coaching regime after 'awkward' QB dynamic

Scott Thompson

While the Giants are doing the best they can to gear up for next season, Eli Manning doesn't have to worry about that.

For the first time in a very long time, the retired quarterback isn't worried about studying film, what he needs to improve on, what new offensive schemes he needs to learn, or anything football at all. 

It's Manning's first offseason in retirement after 16 years of leading the Giants at quarterback, so football isn't top of mind right now. For his successor Daniel Jones, though, it certainly is as he looks to learn a new offense with new coordinator Jason Garrett aboard. 

And Manning explained why he thinks the Giants are in good hands with Jones at the helm.


Speaking on SiriusXM NFL Radio with Bob Papa and Charlie Weis Monday morning to discuss his work with Robin Hood NYC and their initiative to help those in need during this coronavirus pandemic, Manning talked about a variety of topics with Jones being one of them. He is confident Jones has the ability to step into a much larger leadership role next season, and truly take charge within the locker room. 

"I think it'll be easier this year for him to kinda step up as that leader," Manning said. "Last year was probably awkward for him. Me being there and me being in meeting rooms and just the whole dynamic."

It's no secret that it was awkward at first for these two. Manning was the two-time Super Bowl MVP that built his Giants legacy as the greatest quarterback to play for the franchise. And here was Jones, the sixth overall pick by the Giants in last year's NFL Draft, set up to take his spot. It happened after two weeks into the season, too. 

But Manning understood the situation as did Jones, and their bond was quickly formed. Now, with Manning out of those meeting rooms and the locker room, it's up to Jones to step up and be the leader his predecessor was for so many years. 

"He is the quarterback, he's the guy just for him to have that control and the authority over receivers and offensive line I think he's proven to be tough and work hard and he's done all the right things," Manning said. 

Being gone and not involved in the offseason work doesn't mean Manning hasn't been keeping up with his apprentice. During these tough times, the Giants -- like every other NFL team -- have been forced to go over the new schemes under head coach Joe Judge and his coordinators over video conferencing instead of in-person sessions. 

"I've talked to Daniel and gotten his feedback on how it's going," Manning said. "He said it's going well."

Video: Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge talk drafting defense 

It's the best option the Giants have at the moment. But once they get on the field, whenever that may be, Manning knows this will be a fun team to watch. Manning wasn't the only change to the organization this year, as Pat Shurmur and his staff left, too. Judge comes in with a solid staff that includes someone Manning is very familiar with in Garrett, the ex-Cowboys head coach. 

Having his offensive implemented brought to the Giants is something he's looking forward to watch develop with Jones leading the way. 

"I do," Manning said when asked if he likes what he's seeing from the organization right now. "Obviously having competed against coach Garrett and his teams most of my career and have a great respect for him and as an offensive mind. I think he'll do a wonderful job and coach Judge will get the team back in the right direction."

When the season kicks off, Manning won't be completely distant. Yes, he said he's looking forward to weekends with his family, something he hasn't been able to do much during his playing days. But Manning said he will find time to "travel with the Giants" as well as getting to some Ole Miss games and hitting up some golf courses. 

This year has a relaxation mindset for the future Hall of Famer, who doesn't want to "jump into anything too seriously and put too much on my plate too early." He'll figure out what his post-NFL career will be soon. 

Until then, Manning will have a keen eye on the Giants and especially Jones in 2020. 

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