When Eli Manning retired after the 2019 season, he thought he was leaving the New York Giants in good hands with Daniel Jones as his successor. But after a rough 2020, does Manning still believes that his former team is on the right track?
In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Manning said that he likes what he’s seeing from a rebuild standpoint. He believes that the team is “heading in the right direction” and praised the team for drafting well. Manning also spoke glowingly of head coach Joe Judge.
“It’s been great,” Manning said, via Giants.com. “They’re obviously committed to turning this around. They feel great about a lot of positions where they are and I think coach Judge has done a great job. The fact that they are a young team, and they’ve drafted well, have all these guys that are growing within this program and under his leadership, I think they’re heading in the right direction. In the NFL, sometimes all it takes is a few players to really go from kind of that middle-of-the-pack to a playoff-caliber team.”
As for embattled quarterback Daniel Jones, who Manning mentored as a rookie in 2019, the two-time Super Bowl champion gave him a vote of confidence. He feels that Jones’ struggles over the past two years can be attributed to learning two new offenses.
“It’s hard when you have a quarterback in his second year, second offensive coordinator, a lot of changes,” Manning said. “The fact that he’ll be going into the same offense for two consecutive years will help him, help him grow as a player, be more comfortable in the offense.
“I know he works extremely hard, I know he’s committed and dedicated to doing whatever possible, I know it’s important for him to have success and to be a leader and to get back to winning football games for the Giants. Having those qualities is the start that you need to eventually have success in the NFL. I think he has those things. He of course has the talent, the ability to make the plays. It’s just combining all those together, plus getting the guys around him that can help him, and I think that’s what the Giants are doing.”
Eli Manning believes team is 'heading in the right direction'
— New York Giants (@Giants) April 5, 2021
The Giants went 6-10 in the first year of the post-Eli era, and looked pretty awful for half of that season. Had the rest of the NFC East not been absolutely atrocious this year, the Giants might have been the worst team in the entire NFC.
But their relatively strong finish earned Daniel Jones, Joe Judge and even GM Dave Gettleman another year to try and work things out.
2021 will be a crucial one for the New York Giants. Another season like the one they just had could be the end for one or even two of the key people for Big Blue.