Not many teams can say they have a succession plan at quarterback. If there’s one thing the New York Giants and general manager Dave Gettleman have done right lately, it’s the manner in which they set the Giants up for the post-Eli Manning era.
Manning is out as the starting quarterback after 15 years and Jones, the team’s top draft pick this year, is in. The two players knew this moment was going to happen — possibly this year — and now it’s happened.
Like with most transitions, there is likely to be friction, but neither player has made much of a big deal about this one.
Manning said he knew when they drafted Jones this was a possibility. He is in the final year of his contract, is 38 and the Giants have tried to displace him in the past. He was fully aware that he could be out, even though the coaches and management had publicly supported him vehemently all spring and summer.
“I knew there was a possibility and I just said I’ll handle it, I’ll support Daniel, I’ll be a good teammate and do what I’m told,” Manning told reporters on Wednesday. “I didn’t know how everything was going to shake out this year. You just know when you draft a young quarterback, there’s a possibility that they’re going to play him if things don’t go well. We didn’t start fast, and that’s the situation we’re in now.”
Jones is so similar to Manning in appearance and personality that it just seems natural that he is the next man up for the Giants. He said the transition could have begun any better.
“Yesterday, when Coach Shurmur told me, and obviously Eli as well, we had a conversation. As you all would expect, as anyone who knows Eli would expect, he was nothing but supportive of me. Obviously, I understand the circumstance and it’s a difficult one. But he’s very supportive of me and I can’t say enough about who he is as a person, as a teammate, and he’s been that way since I’ve gotten here,” Jones said. “We had that conversation and then we went about our Tuesday preparing and watching film like we have the first two weeks. I’m certainly very grateful and appreciative of his support since I’ve gotten here.”
Now comes the difficult part of trying to replace a Hall of Famer. Jones brings a different skill set to the quarterback position but said the Giants’ offense won’t change much.
“I’m not sure the offense will change substantially,” he said. “I think it’ll be what we do, it’ll be what we’ve (practiced) since the spring and what we’re used to. I don’t see it changing a whole lot. We’ve got a good system. We’ve got good players who are used to the system. I think it’ll stay pretty consistent.”
That might sound a little disheartening for Giant fans who want to see some fundamental changes to an offense that has averaged 15.5 points per game so far in 2019.
But Jones is not too small for the moment. Don’t let his boyish appearance and laid-back demeanor fool you. He is a gamer who has overcome long odds to get to here. There’s no fear for him. Just excitement.
“I’m confident,’ he said. “Like I said, I feel good about my progress to this point. I certainly understand there will be a lot to learn, and I look forward to that.”
“To Giants fans, just know that I’ll compete as hard as I possibly can, prepare as hard as I possibly can, and when I’m out there, I’ll play as hard as I can and do what I can to help this team win games.”