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Giants’ Daniel Jones needs to end Eli Manning’s big day with a win

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He showed Daniel Jones the ropes, showed him how a pro goes about his business, then was thrust into the awkward role as quarterback whisperer for the first time in his Only A Giant career.

And now, on the Sunday when the Giants will retire Eli Manning’s No. 10 at MetLife Stadium, there can be no better occasion for Jones to honor the franchise icon with the kind of game, the kind of victory, that would make Manning proud.

Take the halftime cheers that will be a shower of love and warmth for Manning and run with them all the way to 1-2.

Begin to make the case to skeptical Giants fans that the torch has been passed successfully to the right guy.

That 8 is Enough for a brighter today and tomorrow.

On Manning’s day, make it your day at the end of the day.

“It’ll be a cool moment, obviously a legend of this game, a legend of this franchise,” Jones said of the ceremony for Manning, “what he represented, how he played for so long.

“Being able to be with him my first year was awesome. For me, it was a huge opportunity, and it’ll be cool to see him recognized.”

Daniel Jones and Eli Manning
Getty Images; Corey Sipkin

Jones didn’t have to wait 15 games for his opportunity the way Patrick Mahomes did behind Alex Smith. Jones had to wait two games. But Manning’s mentorship never wavered.

“Just a tremendous opportunity to learn and to watch him, to be able to talk to him and ask him questions, watch how he went about his work and how he carried himself on the field, how he played, how he prepared,” Jones said. “And then off the field in the building, dealing with teammates and leading this organization.”

Manning’s leadership example never stopped even when he became the backup. After all those years showing up every single Sunday, come hell or high plantar fasciitis, as the franchise quarterback, he never changed as the franchise backup quarterback.

“It was just day in and day out, the way he prepared and the way he carries himself, I think anyone would expect a guy that successful and played that long at a high level that he had the certain way to prepare, that’s expected,” Jones said, “but being able to kinda see it day to day and him go about it, being able to see him interact with teammates, interact with people in the facility, with staff members, and the leader that he was kinda in all aspects of the organization, and for this team.”

You can hear about the way Eli Manning worked at his craft, but it is a luxury for a young player, especially a young quarterback, to witness it. Jones happens to be cut from the same first-one-in-the-building, last-one-to-leave cloth. Same guys, every day.

“He never got bored with doing the fundamental things on the field, whether it was footwork, working on something as simple as three-step drop or five-step drop,” Jones said. “You’d hear him talk about his footwork a lot, a lot of those things. I remember that sticking with me early on. This is a guy who’s played a lot, and he’s still focused on Day 1 fundamentals. Little things were always extremely important, and he was just extremely detailed and specific in all his preparation, that carried through to every aspect of his game.”

I asked Jones if Manning gave him any single piece of advice as he got ready for his first NFL start as quarterback of the New York Football Giants.

“There was a lot … certainly the routine going about the week in preparing, I was able to see his preparation, so just talking through kind of how he prepared day by day, the things he looked for in how he went about his week,” Jones said.

Jones has caught a bit of the Eli-Peyton MNF show on ESPN2 and ESPN+.

“He’s pretty funny, he’s got some good one-liners and some good commentary. … It’s been fun to watch him and Peyton go back and forth,” Jones said.

Jones has yet to be summoned for a guest appearance. “No,” he said, and smiled, “I haven’t gotten the invite.”

Jones was heroic in defeat against the Washington Football Team, with his arm and with legs that Archie Manning might have had running for his Saints life.

Eli Manning never tried to be Big Brother Peyton, and Joe Judge doesn’t want Jones to be anyone but himself, to do his job and only his job and no one else’s in pursuit of victory.

Asked if that was one of his better games, Jones said: “I don’t know. I don’t think judging it that way, I don’t know how productive that is. We didn’t win the game, I didn’t do enough, didn’t make enough plays, so we’ve gotta look at that and improve.”

And pay homage to Eli Manning.



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