Daniel Jones admits it was a ‘bit awkward’ playing with Eli Manning
Eli Manning said recently that he expects Daniel Jones to be better positioned to grow as a leader in 2020 with Manning having retired, and it sounds like the former Duke star may agree.
Manning said during a radio interview last week that he suspects the situation with the New York Giants was “awkward at times” for Jones last year, as Jones was a rookie quarterback trying to take over for a two-time Super Bowl champion who was still on the roster. Jones admitted to reporters on Wednesday that there is some truth to that.
“I think looking back, (it) was definitely, probably, a little bit awkward at times, certain times,” Jones said on a Zoom conference call, via Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com. “But, I think we did a good job working together. I know I enjoyed working with him and certainly learned a ton from him.”
Manning was beloved by fans and teammates, which is why it was so controversial when former Giants coach Ben McAdoo benched Eli during the 2017 season. That decision was essentially overturned due to fan outrage. Fans weren’t nearly as angry when Manning was benched in favor of Jones last season, but situations like that are almost always uncomfortable in the locker room.
While Manning may have seemed bitter toward Jones after the QB change was made last year, Jones said Wednesday that having Manning around was a “huge advantage” for him.
“I appreciate everything he did during (last) year,” Jones said. “I don’t know, it will certainly be different in the room. But I really enjoyed working with Eli last year. I thought it was a huge advantage for me to be able to learn from him and talk with him every day.”
Jones had some stretches of quality play last year, finishing with 3,027 yards, 24 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. The Giants will probably go as far as he can take them in 2020, and learning under Manning for one season may have been the best-case scenario for the 22-year-old. Jones dealt with some uncomfortable moments during his rookie year, but he was able to pick Manning’s brain and now no longer has a two-time Super Bowl champion looking over his shoulder.