Jones on replacing Eli in 2019: ‘It probably was a little bit awkward at certain times’

Going into the 2019 NFL season, the New York Giants were looking to give Eli Manning one last chance to get the team on the right track, but after starting the season 0-2, New York decided they had seen enough. The Giants would replace Manning with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft, Daniel Jones. 

Replacing Manning was a tricky thing for all parties involved, and Manning recently said in an interview that he thought the situation was awkward. The 22-year-old Jones agreed with Manning, which he discussed on Wednesday.

“I think looking back, it probably was a little bit awkward at certain times,” Jones said during a video conference call. “But we did a good job working together. I know I enjoyed working with him and certainly learned a ton from him and appreciate everything he did during that year. I don’t know. It certainly will be different, like we’re saying. 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 to him every day. It will be different, it will be an adjustment, but I’m looking forward to this year and this team we have.”

The Giants are now Jones’ team. Fortunately for the second-year quarterback, Manning has since retired. In 2020, Jones will have an opportunity to establish himself as one of the leaders of the Giants, and with Manning enjoying retirement, it should be easier for Jones to make that happen. 

Accorsi on Eli: ‘He won championships, and he was always there giving us a chance to win’

Eli Manning is ready to write the final chapter of his historic career.

One of the best, most popular and most decorated players in Giants history, Manning, a two-time Super Bowl winner and most valuable player, will announce his retirement Friday, ending a 16-year career spent entirely with the team he joined in a draft-day trade in 2004.

“For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field,” said John Mara, the Giants’ president and chief executive officer. “Eli is our only two-time Super Bowl MVP and one of the very best players in our franchise’s history. He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability. It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us. We are beyond grateful for his contributions to our organization and look forward to celebrating his induction into the Giants Ring of Honor in the near future.”

“We are proud to have called Eli Manning our quarterback for so many years,” said Steve Tisch, Giants chairman and executive vice president. “Eli was driven to always do what was best for the team. Eli leaves a timeless legacy with two Super Bowl titles on the field and his philanthropic work off the field, which has inspired and impacted so many people. We are sincerely thankful for everything Eli has given our team and community. He will always be a Giant among Giants.”

Ernie Accorsi was the general manager who traded for Manning. Though he retired after the 2006 season, Accorsi has remained a member of the Giants family and has followed Manning’s career closely.

“I learned very early that you evaluate quarterbacks on their ability to win championships, and to do it late in a game when the game is on the line, that they’re able to take a team down the field and into the end zone to win a title,” Accorsi said. “The second thing is to know that over a period of years, he’s always going to be there. Those kinds of quarterbacks always give you a chance to win, and for 16 years, he did that for this franchise. He won championships and he was always there giving us a chance to win. I don’t know how you can ask more from a quarterback.”

Manning’s first 183 regular-season and 11 postseason starts were for Tom Coughlin, the Giants’ head coach from 2004-15.

“It was an honor and privilege to coach Eli, and to go through the wonderful and magnificent moments that he and his teammates provided for all of us in the world championship ‘07-‘08 and ’11-’12 seasons,” Coughlin said. “The New York Giants, flagship franchise of the National Football League, have four world championships You have four trophies sitting there. You have (Phil) Simms, you have (Jeff) Hostetler, and you have Eli for two. Eli Manning not only is the quarterback on those great teams, but he is the MVP of the Super Bowls. He’s an incredible big- game performer. You talk about a guy that’s great to coach, focused every day, took tremendous pride in preparing, practice, had a great sense of humor, was a cynic in the locker room. But the guys loved him and they loved him for it, and they played for him. The guys that had the opportunity to play with him know what it’s like to be with a guy with as much talent, as much grit, as much determination.

“Here goes the retirement of a great, great football Giant. I and my coaching staff and our teams from 2004 right through 2015, for me at least, my part, hold Eli in the highest respect and congratulate him and his family, and his mom and dad, for all of the wonderful, wonderful experiences he’s had, and the happiness and pride that he has brought to the entire Giants family, the fanfare, the fans, the family and everyone that’s taken so much pride from his performances and for what he’s meant. He’s always been there to make the call, to stand up and represent the Giants in the best possible way.”

Manning is one of the most accomplished players in the 95 seasons of Giants football. He is the only player in franchise history to suit up for 16 seasons and his 236 regular-season games (234 starts) and 248 total games are both Giants records.

From Nov. 21, 2004 through Nov. 23, 2017, Manning started 210 consecutive regular-season games, then the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history (to Brett Favre’s 297). After sitting out one game, he started the next 22 in a row, giving him 232 starts in 233 games – plus 12 postseason games. Manning never missed a game because of injury.

“I can’t tell you what that means to a coach, to be able to prepare every week knowing your starter is going to be there,” Coughlin said. “It’s almost impossible today to be able to do that. Some teams are fortunate. Many teams it doesn’t happen to. You get a guy nicked, you get him hurt. I remember once he was hurt with a shoulder. He didn’t practice all week. We didn’t know if he’d be alright. He started and played the whole game and played well. It meant a great deal to us to be able to prepare knowing he was going to be on the field and be the starting quarterback for all of those games.”

Manning led the Giants to victories against the New England Patriots in Super Bowls XLII (when they defeated a Patriots team that was 18-0) and XLVI. In each game, he led the Giants on a long fourth-quarter drive to erase a fourth-quarter deficit. On Feb. 3, 2008, it was a 12-play, 83-yard march highlighted by Dave Tyree’s famous helmet catch and the 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds remaining that gave the Giants a 17-14 victory. Four years later, the decisive series covered 88 yards in nine plays, most memorably a 38-yard sideline throw to Mario Manningham and Ahmad Bradshaw’s seat-of-his-pants one-yard touchdown run for a 21-17 triumph.

Manning won the Rozelle Trophy as the game’s most valuable player each time. He is the only Giants player to win the award twice and is one of just five players in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowl MVP awards. All of them are quarterbacks (Tom Brady, 4; Joe Montana, 3; Terry Bradshaw and Bart Starr, 2 apiece).

Manning is one of 21 quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl without losing one and one of 12 to win at least two Super Bowls.

In 2016, Manning was the co-recipient (with Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a fellow member of the 2004 draft class) of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. He is the only Giants player to be so honored in the award’s 49-year history.

Manning owns every significant Giants career passing record. He is sixth in NFL history with 8,119 attempts and seventh with 4,895 completions, 57,023 yards and 366 touchdown passes. Manning also has the franchise’s highest career completion percentage (60.29). Manning holds the seven highest single-season completion totals and the four highest yardage totals (he threw for more than 4,000 yards seven times) and completion percentages. He was selected to four Pro Bowls.

Manning also excelled in the postseason, when he had an 8-4 record. He set Giants career playoff records with 400 passes, 242 completions, 2,815 yards and 18 touchdown passes.

In the recently-concluded 2019 season, Manning played four games. He started the first two games before being replaced by Daniel Jones, the sixth overall selection in the draft last year.  Jones sprained his ankle against Green Bay on Dec. 1 and Manning started the next two games, a Monday night game in Philadelphia and the following Sunday at home vs. Miami. Manning threw for 283 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-20 victory over the Dolphins and left the game to a long and loud ovation with 1:54 remaining. The victory evened his regular-season record at 117-117.

Off the field, Manning has been one of the most giving Giants, donating his time and money to numerous civic and charitable causes. He heads the Tackle Kids Cancer Initiative at Hackensack UMC and he launched “Eli’s Challenge” by pledging to match grassroots donations from local organizations dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000. He and his family built “The Eli Manning Children’s Clinics” at the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson, Miss. Manning supports numerous other charities, including Children’s of Mississippi Capital Campaign, March of Dimes, New York March for Babies, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, American Red Cross, Scholastic’s Classroom Care Program and the PeyBack Foundation.

Fittingly, one of the many awards he has received for his work in the community is the Ernie Accorsi Humanitarian Award at the National Football Foundation.

“That’s what it’s all about – it’s about giving back,” Coughlin said. “You think that the good Lord gave you these tools for you to hold inside you and be selfish about it? No chance. He goes out in the community, he’s himself when he’s out there. He’s done a tremendous amount of work for the Jay Fund (Coughlin’s charity foundation, which benefits the families of children with cancer). He goes to see cancer kids over in Hackensack and throughout New York City. His heart is in the right place.”

Next week in Hollywood, Fla., Manning will be presented with the 2020 Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award. The award, bearing the name of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bart Starr, honors Starr’s lifelong commitment to serving as a positive role model to his family, teammates and community. Manning was selected by his peers in the NFL, making it the only award – other than the Pro Bowl – voted on by all the players.

Coughlin was three months into his 12-year tenure as the Giants’ coach when Manning joined the team roughly an hour after the San Diego Chargers selected him first in the 2004 NFL Draft. Picking fourth, the Giants selected another quarterback, Philip Rivers. Accorsi then engineered a trade that brought Manning to the team he had hoped to play for all along. The Giants sent Rivers, their third-round choice in 2004 (No. 65 overall), and first and fifth-round picks in the 2005 draft to the Chargers for Manning.

“(The late Beano) Cook told me once, ‘You could be on the first civilian flight to Mars, and the first line of your obituary is going to be that you traded for Eli Manning,’” Accorsi said. “No question about that. I’m honored to be associated with Eli Manning in every way possible, as a person and as a player.”

So is everyone else who had the privilege of working with Manning for 16 years.

Barkley, Manning, Jones react to the end of Pat Shurmur in New York

On Monday, the New York Giants decided to fire head coach Pat Shurmur. In two seasons with the Giants, Shurmur was 9-23. General manager Dave Gettleman will remain in his position, the team announced on Monday.

After the announcement of Shurmur’s dismissal, Eli Manning, Daniel Jones, and Saquon Barkley reacted.

Here is what they had to say:

Eli Manning:

Q: What’s your reaction to the firing today?

Manning: Coach Shurmur and I had a great relationship. I think he is a great coach, I think he is a wonderful man and (I’m) just disappointed. I think you always feel responsible when a coach gets fired. It’s obviously because as players we didn’t do our part. We didn’t play well enough, we didn’t win enough games. I feel for him and all the coaches. They worked hard and did a lot of hard work and a lot of good things. Obviously, just didn’t win enough games for them to stay on and move forward, so (I’m) disappointed.

Daniel Jones:

Q: How did the firing of your head coach hit you?

Jones: It’s tough. Obviously, that’s I guess part of the business and part of being at this level. But it’s tough on me, tough on all of us.

Q: What are you feeling right now?

Jones: Just disappointed. Coach (Pat Shurmur) obviously believed in me, Coach believed in all of us, and it’s disappointing. I’m grateful to him for the opportunity. I think he’s an excellent football coach and I really appreciate what he’s done for us.

Q: When something like this happens, do the players feel a part of it, as though they’re responsible as well?

Jones: Absolutely, no question. It’s a tough deal, but everyone is responsible. The players are very, very largely responsible for how this season has gone. I certainly feel responsible, and I think that’s the tough part. That’s the way we should feel and that’s the way it is. Everyone on this team feels that way. We have to use that to motivate us going into the offseason and make sure that we’re not in this position next year.

Q: He addressed you guys. Can you give us a little bit of insight into what that was like? He addressed you guys as a team?

Jones: He did, yeah. He let us know of the situation and told us that he appreciated us, our effort. Coach’s class and just who he is as a man was always apparent. It was apparent in that meeting also. I think the world of him. I have the ultimate amount of respect for him as a coach and as a person.

Q: Is it important to you that the next head coach be a quarterback guy, have a quarterback background?

Jones: That’s not necessarily up to me and well above my pay grade. My job is to work as hard as I can to improve, to learn the system and work with the next coach.

Q: In that vein, obviously, you’re not making the decision, but what kind of general characteristics would you be hoping for that the new head coach would have?

Jones: I don’t know. Just an energy and excitement for this team. I think the next head coach will do that. I trust the people making that decision. Like I said, my job is to work as hard as I can to learn the system and to continue to improve as a player.

Q: Going into the future, you’re the franchise quarterback. How do you accept the responsibility of being the quarterback of the New York Giants?

Jones: Just work hard every day to improve. Where we are right now as a team, where I am right now as a player, is not where we need to be. I feel that, I think this team feels that. If we want to get where we want to go, we’re going to have to use this, to learn from this. Otherwise, the season would have been pointless. We need to use it to motivate us, use it to improve going into the offseason.

Q: There are going to be several head coaching positions open in the NFL. What do you think makes the Giants’ opening so attractive?

Jones: I think, one, it’s a historic franchise with a lot of tradition. This team has a chance to, like I said, continue to improve. We have guys who can build a special team, be a part of a special team, and that’s our goal. We’re excited about this team. We know we have an opportunity to be special and we’re determined to do that. I think just the opportunity to be a part of this organization, this historic organization, is something anyone would be excited about.

Saquon Barkley:

Q: Are you surprised by the news of what happened with Coach (Pat) Shurmur?

Barkley: Yeah, I was surprised by it. Upset, we’re all upset. I’ve been preaching all season whenever anyone asked me about what I think about if our coaching staff are the right people, I always kept saying it’s easy to point the finger at one person. But at the end of the day, kind of like what DG (Dave Gettleman) said in the meeting, we’re all responsible. We’re all responsible for these last two seasons. Coach Shurmur is a heck of a person, heck of a coach, and definitely helped me develop over these last two years.

Q: How hard was it today when you heard the news?

Barkley: Very hard. It sucks. That’s your coach. He’s one of the guys that believed in me, believed in DJ (Daniel Jones), for us to get here and live our dreams of playing in the NFL. You don’t want to see anybody go out like that. It sucks because, like I said, you point the finger at one person. It wasn’t all him, it’s all of us. We just need to take that and learn from the lesson, and in the future, to be better.

Q: I think it’s probably just another reality of the NFL that as you move on in your career, that these things happen at this level?

Barkley: Yeah, definitely a hard reality. You understand what the NFL is, it’s a business. At some points, it’s going to happen to everybody. No matter if you go out your first year and as a rookie, you get cut, or you’re in year 12. At some point, it’s going to come to an end. You just have to cherish the moments, cherish the time you have in the locker room with your coaches and with your teammates, and try to take full advantage of the opportunities you have.

Shurmur: ‘Eli earned all the really good things that happened to him yesterday over many, many years’

Eli Manning’s emotional sendoff doesn’t guarantee he will say goodbye immediately.

The 16-year veteran yesterday gave the Giants and their fans another unforgettable highlight in leading the team to a 36-20 victory against the Miami Dolphins in what was potentially his final NFL start and/or appearance.

But the Giants have two games remaining, Sunday in Washington and Dec. 29 at home against Philadelphia. And while the sprained ankle that forced Daniel Jones to the inactive list the last two games is improving, coach Pat Shurmur isn’t certain if the rookie quarterback will get the clearance to line up against the Redskins. If he doesn’t, Manning would make career start No. 235 with a chance to get back over .500 (he is 117-117).

“If Daniel can’t go and Eli is our starter, we are going to go in with the idea that we’re going to put a winning performance on the field against Washington.” Shurmur said on a conference call today.

The Giants players were off today – an idea first raised by Manning in his postgame locker room speech – and will return to the practice field on Wednesday. That’s when Shurmur will get a clearer sense if Jones will play in Washington.

“We’ll just have to see,” Shurmur said. “Even though this is what they call a victory Monday, there’s a lot of players in the building today getting weight training, treatment and studying tape. We’ll just push him along like we did last week. We started the week with the idea that he might be ready to play, and we’ll do the same this week.”

Manning is no boat-rocker, but he’d certainly prefer to spend Sunday afternoon playing on the field than watching from the sideline.

“Of course, I’d like to,” he said at his news conference following the game. “I know Daniel’s getting close to getting ready and getting better. We’ll see what his status is. I get it either way. I know they want to get him back and get him more experience and more reps and everything. Whatever I’m asked to do, I’ll do it.”

That’s exactly what he did yesterday when he threw a pair of touchdown passes and led the Giants on four scoring drives in a 29-point second half. The result was a long-sought victory for a team that had lost its previous nine games.

But what made the day special was the love shown Manning. He received a long and loud standing ovation when his name was announced prior to the Giants’ first offensive series. Many fans held signs demonstrating their affection for the quarterback who has never missed a game because of injury and who won the MVP award in two Super Bowl victories. Shurmur removed Manning from the game with 1:50 remaining, prompting more cheering and chanting of his name. He was surrounded by his teammates, first when he reached the bench area and again when Shurmur presented him with a game ball in the locker room.

“Eli earned all the really good things that happened to him yesterday over many, many years,” Shurmur said. “Yesterday, in particular, he helped lead us to victory. The appreciation that the fans were able to show for many, many years of being an outstanding player for the Giants, I think we can all learn a lot from that. I think his availability, his ability to play, he’s played almost every game he was suited up to play. I think there’s a lot to be enjoyed and savored in some of the praise Eli received yesterday. I think it was all for the right reasons.”

Shurmur, however, is not stuck on sentiment. He has repeatedly said Jones will play when he is healthy enough to do so. Shurmur believes the young quarterback and his teammates can all benefit from the experience playing two more games will give them.

“I think it’s important for not only Daniel if he gets back in there but for the whole team,” Shurmur said. “It’s been pretty well documented for most of the year how young our players are. Young players, if they’re good players, they can improve and it can bleed into next season as long as they have a great offseason. I think it would be the same for him.”

Although they endured a long and disappointing stretch, the Giants now have an opportunity to finish the season with a three-game winning streak. If they do, can they create momentum that will carry over into next season?

“I think it helps if you use it as motivation to have an outstanding offseason,” Shurmur said. “If the players that have played on the team this season recognize that what we did this year wasn’t good enough, and that if you believe in hard work and preparation, then it should be motivation to work hard in the offseason and prepare for next year.”

This week, the Giants will focus on playing Washington – no matter who starts at quarterback.

*Sterling Shepard had more than twice as many catches and receiving yards as any other Giants player yesterday when he finished with season-high totals of nine receptions and 111 yards.

“I thought he did a nice job,” Shurmur said. “He made some plays. I think he had a productive game and he played well. … He’s like a lot of the guys that we’ve had coming back from injury. Who knows how long it takes him to get back to what he should look like? He had a real positive impact on the game.”

*So did Nick Gates, who played the entire game at right guard in place of the injured Kevin Zeitler (ankle). It was the first-year pro’s second extensive action. He took every snap at right tackle against the Jets on Nov 10.

“He did a nice job, and I’m not surprised by it,” Shurmur said. “When he played against the Jets, his man didn’t touch the quarterback, he was productive in the run game, and he played at tackle. He went and played guard this week for (Kevin) Zeitler and had a very, very productive game. He’s a good, solid football player. He’s a little bit like (cornerback Sam) Beal, he’s here for the second year, but last year was like year zero because he was hurt, and he’s done a good job. He’s a steady performer and he’s got a bright future.”

Courtesy: Michael Eisen

Manning: ‘It’s a special day, a special win, and one I’ll remember’

It what might have been his final start at MetLife Stadium, Giants QB Eli Manning helped New York break their nine-game losing streak, as the Giants defeated the Miami Dolphins 36-20 on Sunday. 

“The way the season is going, the way these last 10 or 11 weeks have gone, the team obviously needed a win just for morale and to keep things going,” Manning said after the game. “It’s tough to go every week, be close, to compete and practice hard. Guys are giving great effort and doing a lot of good things; we’re just falling a little short. But today, we obviously were able to put it all together.

“The defense played great. Offensively, we ran the ball well, hit up big plays in the passing game, and did enough good things to get the win. Just proud of the guys. I know they all wanted to get me a win, and I wanted to get them a win as well.”

After a slow start, which included two interceptions in the first half, the Giants trailed 10-7 at halftime, but in the second half, the 38-year-old Manning was able to lead New York on four scoring drives. Manning finished the game completing 20 of his 28 passes for 283 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Late in the contest, with the game in hand, Manning received a standing ovation. 

“Obviously, I don’t know what the future is,” Manning said. “I don’t know what lies next week, let alone down the road. Obviously, the support and the fans, their ovation, chanting my name from the first snap to the end, I appreciate that. I appreciate them always and all my teammates coming up to me. It’s a special day, a special win, and one I’ll remember.”

When asked what he will remember the most about this victory over the Dolphins, Manning had this to say. 

“I don’t know. Probably just the fans, the chants, the awkward feeling of standing there on the sideline, kind of a circle around me,” he said. “Everyone looking at me and staring at me, a camera on me and not feeling real comfortable in that circumstance. But getting taken out there in the fourth (quarter) and just having all my teammates come up to me and say something, little hugs. You appreciate all of those guys and everything they’ve done to get this win today.”

It was a great day for a great player, and when it’s all said and done, the two-time Super Bowl MVP will probably be forever remembered in Canton one day. 

Eagles’ Pederson believes Eli Manning could motivate the Giants on Monday night

For the New York Giants(2-10), it has been almost three months since they won a football game. The last time this team tasted victory was on September 29 against the Redskins, in Daniel Jones’ second career start.

Currently, the Giants are on an eight-game losing streak, and with Jones probably out with a high ankle sprain, Eli Manning will likely get his first start in 11 weeks as New York goes on the road to face the Eagles on Monday night. 

According to Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, the return of Manning could be a good thing for New York. 

“I think that, obviously, having Eli have a chance to kind of watch from the sideline, to kind of observe and see how things have gone on the last few weeks, I think that’s just going to help— not only help him, but it’s going to help sort of jazz up the football team and kind of motivate the football team,” Pederson said on a conference call on Thursday.

“One of the things, one of Eli’s strengths obviously, is how he distributes the football to multiple people, and that’s something that he’s been able to do throughout his career and be successful. I don’t think it goes back to the old way at all. I think it’s something that Eli has probably sat and watched and observed, and he’s going to use that to his advantage.”

Jones has had his moments, but he turns the ball over a lot, so the more experienced Manning might do a better job of protecting the football. In 30 games against the Eagles, Manning is 10-20, including five straight losses, but this is an opportunity for the 16-year veteran to go out in style, and to Pederson’s point, I think having Manning in the game could motivate the team.

The Giants are probably a scarier team with Manning, and it should be fascinating to see what Eli shows up on Monday night.

Eli: ‘I’m trying to go out there, play hard, compete, and try to get a win for the team’

For 11 weeks, Giants backup QB Eli Manning has watched from sidelines, but with rookie QB Daniel Jones dealing with a high ankle sprain, Manning might make his return on Monday night as the Giants(2-10) travel to Philadelphia to battle the Eagles(5-7).

Jones injured his ankle in the Giants’ 31-13 loss to the Packers last Sunday.

“At this point, Daniel hasn’t been able to practice today,” Shurmur said on Wednesday. “If we had to play tomorrow, he couldn’t play. As the week goes on, it’ll be more and more evident that he’s not going to be ready to go. As we practice, Eli takes all the reps, and then we move on.”

The 38-year-old Manning has not played since Week 2 after Jones was named the starter in Week 3. 

Today, Manning addressed the media.

Here is what he had to say:

Q: When did you hear the news and how were you told?

Manning: I knew Daniel was dealing with an injury, I didn’t know the severity since he finished the game. I talked to the coaches yesterday and they said he probably wasn’t going to practice today and they didn’t know the circumstances, so (they told me) just be ready to practice this week. We’ll see where it goes for Monday night.

Q: What have the last 10 or 11 weeks been like for you?

Manning: A little different trying to adjust to it and always be prepared to go. Try to get Daniel as prepared as possible each week. I faced a lot of the teams that we have been playing and just look through old notes and tips on trying to diagnose defenses. Also trying to get myself ready to play each week.

Q: Emotionally, what is it like for you to come back and play?

Manning: We’ll see what happens Monday, but business as usual. In the sense of you get the game plan, start prepping for Philly. (We’re) going against a good defense we ‘ve faced a number of years, (we) know them well. Just have to get back in the mix with the offensive line and receivers, make sure timing is where it needs to be.

Q: What’s been the toughest part of these last 11 weeks for you?

Manning: Not playing in the games. You miss being a part of the action and practicing and all that. Felt good to get out there today and throw it around and compete a little bit.

Q: Did you think you had played your last time for the Giants? Had you thought about playing in a game late in the season when Daniel wasn’t playing?

Manning: No, just taking it one week at a time. You never know what can happen and always be ready.

Q: Has this impacted anything about your future plans?

Manning: Again, just take it one game at a time. You never want to try to make decisions about your future while you’re still living in the present and don’t know the circumstances of what could happen. Just have to go out there and try to get a win for the Giants if I’m asked to do that. I’ll analyze everything else after the season.

Q: How do you feel physically, you haven’t been hit for a couple months?

Manning: Physically I feel good. I’ve had time to get extra workouts and do those things just to stay in shape, so you’re not banged up. I feel fresh and ready to go.

Q: Do you feel like you can be sharp? It has been a while…

Manning: Yeah, you’re still practicing, you’re still out there. Sometimes you’re running other people’s plays but you’re still throwing it, hitting guys in stride and trying to throw it accurately and doing all of the drills. Hope to get back there and be sharp.

Q: How much do you think this can serve as a showcase for next year for you?

Manning: I’m not worried about that. I’m trying to go out there, play hard, compete, and try to get a win for the team. The team is obviously going on a long stretch. Guys are working hard and doing everything right and deserve to feel good about the work that we’re putting in.

Q: What has been your impression of Daniel (Jones) as you’ve watched him play?

Manning: Daniel is competing and learning. He makes a lot of great plays and I think he’s doing everything to get prepared and make progress each week. I’ve just been impressed with his work ethic and the dedication he has put towards getting ready to play each week.

Q: Pat Shurmur said you were, ‘eager.’ How eager are you to play?

Manning: I think you’re always eager to play, that’s why you play. That’s why you compete, and you work out and do everything— to go out there and compete on gameday and get wins and put your team in a situation to win. I think when you’re not doing that you miss it, and you’re excited about the competitive part of it.

Q: Year after year, you’ve heard backups here talk about, ‘We have to be ready, I know I’m not starting but we have to be ready to play.’ You weren’t on the other side of that. How hard is that now that you’ve lived through that for two months?

Manning: Yeah, I mean it is difficult. Especially when you’ve been the starter for so long and you’re not really accustomed to preparing and preparing and not putting it to use, in that sense. I think just having a lot of experience and knowing the offense and knowing I can pop in there and be ready to go at any time.

Q: Obviously a lot has happened since we last spoke to you. What was the trade deadline like for you? Was there any discussion of possibly going anywhere else?

 Manning: No, I don’t think so. That was a long time ago, I can’t think that far back.

Q: How wild is it the fact that you spent 15 years and took every single snap and here’s a kid in his first year and he ends up getting an injury. Does it make you feel that much more fortunate that you were able to play for such a long period of time without getting hurt?

Manning: Well, you had injuries and stuff and you just try to fight through things and get ready. I think Daniel wants to play, I think he’s going to do everything possible to get back and rehab. He’s a young kid, so I’m sure he’ll bounce back quickly. I’m sure the staff and everybody wants to be…they don’t want to take something that can be somewhat minor and turn it into something that’s a bigger deal down the line.

Q: Did you have any conversations with the Giants prior to today about wanting to play at least one more game in a Giants uniform?

Manning: No, never. It never came up.

Jones: ‘I feel ready, and I’m certainly looking forward to the opportunity’

The goal for the New York Giants in 2019 was to have rookie QB Daniel Jones sit on the bench for the whole season, but when you are off to an 0-2 start, and your team has not played very well, things change.

On Tuesday, the Giants decided to bench Eli Manning and give Jones his first career start, as the Giants travel to Tampa Bay to battle the Buccaneers on Sunday.

Jones, 22, who was the sixth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, showed a lot of promise in the preseason, and now, hopefully, for the Giants, that will translate to the regular season.

Today, Jones addressed the media. Here is what he had to say:

Q: What was your reaction when you got the news you would be starting on Sunday?

Jones: I was excited. I think, certainly, I’m excited for the opportunity. Coach (Shurmur) called me up to his office and we had that conversation. Obviously it’s a unique circumstance, but I’m excited for the opportunity.

Q: Are you ready for the opportunity?

Jones: Yeah, I certainly feel good about how far I have come in my preparation and my progress since I got here in the spring, through camp and through these first couple weeks. We’ll try to make sure we have the best week we can, and I’ll certainly do all I can to be as prepared as possible. Yeah, I feel ready and I’m certainly looking forward to the opportunity. 

Q: Being a starting quarterback entails a lot more than just calling the huddle and everything. Did you address the team? Did you talk to them and the offense at all today?

Jones: I didn’t, not as a group. I’ve certainly had a number of conversations. I think, like I said, our job is to focus on Tampa Bay to make sure we are as prepared as possible.

Q: What has it been like talking to Eli since the change happened?

Jones: 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. 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.

Q: Just to clarify, you had a conversation with Eli and Coach? Or separately with Coach and then he had a separate conversation with Eli?

Jones: Separately. They were all separate.

Q: When did you assume you’d play?

Jones You never really know when something like this is going to happen. My job is to be ready and to continue to improve. I feel like I have been able to do that. Like I said, you don’t know when something like this is going to happen. I can’t control that. I was just trying to be prepared, and I will continue to prepare the same way this week.

Q: Did Eli offer you any advice?

Jones: Through the week, and his help through the preparation, is certainly very valuable to me. In terms of general advice, I think his support and his confidence in me gives me the confidence (that I need).

Q: What tells you that you will be ready?

Jones: I haven’t played a regular season game, and I’m certainly aware of that. All I can do is prepare as hard as I possibly can, and that’s what I’ll do. I think I’ve gotten some sense of that in the preseason and certainly it will be elevated during the regular season. All I can do this week is make sure I’m prepared, the team is prepared, and I do all I possibly can.

Q: The responsibility of being the starting quarterback for the New York Giants— do you look at that in anyway as somewhat daunting? Or do you feel you’re ready to embrace it?

Jones: I feel like I’m ready to embrace it. I think focusing on what we’re doing here, focusing on what we’re doing in the building and our preparation with my teammates, with my coaches. Narrowing that focus to being here in the moment in this week, I think, is important with that. I feel like I can embrace that, and I am looking forward to the opportunity.

Q: Part of the reason the Giants drafted you is because they thought you could handle this moment, and the pressure that comes with playing, failing, trying to bounce back, in the New York market with a restless fanbase. As you observed that from the sideline the past couple of games, and how it goes in this market, what do you make of it and how do you feel like you’re going to be able to handle the ups and downs?

Jones: I think a similar approach to Bruce’s question— just focusing on what we’re doing, focusing on football, on our preparation, on our weekly plan. (Being) here in the building with my teammates, my coaches, everybody in the building part of this organization, I think is what will be key to my success with that. I understand the responsibility, I understand the challenge, but I’m certainly looking forward to it.

Q: All rookie quarterbacks have to start somewhere. You’re starting with Eli Manning in the locker next to you. You know what that means about replacing him. Is it a line you have to tread? You should be thrilled for yourself and your preparation and getting ready to start. Then you have Eli, who was just benched after 16 years. Is that a juggling act for you a little bit?

Jones: Since I’ve gotten here, Eli has been nothing but helpful and welcoming to me. Obviously, now the roles are different. There will be some differences there. But largely, our relationship and how we communicate will be the same. He’s done it for a long time at a really high level, so there is certainly a ton I can continue to learn from him and will. I think that’s a tremendous opportunity for me.

Q: You haven’t had a whole lot of snaps with the first team offense since the season started. A couple of your teammates said the way they can help you is to make sure the communication is sharp. How do you expedite that today and up until your first snap, to get that as perfect as possible?

Jones: It starts in the meeting room. Before we get out on the practice field, knowing what we need to do. Knowing what to expect from them and them knowing what to expect from me. Communication is certainly key for that.

Q: Your skillset is obviously different than Eli’s. We’ve talked about your ability to run and the way you throw the deep ball. How different do you expect the offense to look? How much would you like to make it conducive to what your skills are?

Jones: I’m not sure the offense will change substantially. 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.

Q: You watched two games that were losses that weren’t all about quarterback play. Entering the lineup now, where do you think you can help this team?

Jones: Through the first two weeks, like you said, there have been a number of issues. As a team, we all have to perform better. I think everyone’s on the same page there. My job is to come in and be prepared and know exactly what we need to do and execute that. Like I said, we have good players and good spots. My job is to execute the offense, to get the ball where it needs to go on time and accurately. I don’t think my role changes in that sense. Just to execute.

Q: What is your confidence level right now, and what would you say to Giants fans about what they can expect when they see you for the first time in a regular season game?

Jones: I’m confident. 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.

Q: When you came here, you talked about earning the respect of your teammates. You understood what you were coming here for. The fact that it sounds like you did earn that respect from your locker room, did it make yesterday’s news and today walking out on the practice field feel any different? The idea that you don’t have to earn the respect of these guys, that they already see you as someone who can take over this role?

Jones: I think so. As a rookie, you’re always trying to earn respect. I think that’s a continuing process. Understanding that there is still a lot that I have to learn and that there is a lot that I need to work on, but that I’m excited to do it and I’m going to do everything I can to do it. Earning respect and proving to the vets, the guys that have been here a long time, that you’re willing to do that is important and will stay important.

Manning on possibly getting benched: ‘We are 0-2, and we are looking for answers, I get it’

The New York Giants are off to a 0-2 start after losing to the Bills 28-14 on Sunday, and in reality, they look like a football team that might not be very good, which means fans, media will all start to look at the starting quarterback.

While Giants QB Eli Manning(556 yards, 2 TDs/2 ints) has not been awful, he and the Giants have not been very good, and today, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur left open the possibility that rookie QB Daniel Jones could replace Manning next Sunday as the Giants travel to Tampa Bay to battle the Buccaneers.

“We’re gonna talk about everything moving forward. I think that’s fair at this point,” Shurmur said on Monday.

Manning addressed what Shurmur had to say, and the possibility that he could be benched.

Q: Coach Shurmur left open the possibility of you not being the starting quarterback on Sunday, how do you react to that?

Manning: I have to get ready to play a game, nothing changes. Get ready for Tampa and figure out a way to get a win.

Q: What have your discussions been like with Pat since the game, anything different or business as usual?

Manning:  Yeah, business as usual.

Q: How do you feel you have played so far?

Manning: Well, we are 0-2. There is always room for improvement. I feel like I’m not missing, maybe I missed one throw to Evan yesterday. Obviously, we have to figure out a way to score more points and do better on third downs. Figure out a way to get completions and convert on those third downs.

Q: After the draft, Pat said your job is to win and keep this guy off the field. Did they give you any idea on how long of a leash you have?

Manning: No.

Q: Are you surprised these conversations are happening so early in the season?

Manning: We are 0-2 and we are looking for answers, I get it. When you draft a guy early and you’re not winning games, these are going to come up. I just have to keep working and do what my job is.

Q: What have the discussions with you been like to this point, did they tell you they are looking at it?

Manning: We have not discussed it.

Q: Does uncertainty like this motivate you?

Manning: The motivation is to win, there’s nothing more than that. You want to win, that’s why you work hard, that’s why you train, that’s why you do everything and prepare in practice, so you can go out there and win football games and build something special. Nothing changes.

Q: Would you rather the head coach have a definitive answer rather than open this door?

Manning: The mindset for me is just to prepare and do what I’m told to do.

Q: How frustrating has it been, another 0-2 start?

Manning: Obviously, we wish we would win a game. We feel like we work hard and we are prepared, we do a lot of good things, just not quite playing well enough as a group to score enough points offensively.

Q: How surprised are you that you are 5 for 24 on third down, and you have failed to score 20 points in your first two games.

Manning: Yeah, obviously the third downs, that’s something that’s going to hurt you. When you can’t stay on the field long enough, we have some good drives where we are scoring on the first series. There’s some good things out there, we have put together some other nice drives. We have had opportunities, just not playing well enough in certain circumstances of the game to score those points. We knew they were a good defense, we were down there those two times before halftime. To get no points out of that, that’s going to hurt you.

Q: A few Bills players said their game plan was to put it on you, to have you beat them throwing the football. After the fact, does that annoy you to hear another defense talking like that, does it motivate you. What’s your reaction when you hear something like that??

Manning: No reaction. We have a stud running back in Saquon, teams are going to try to stop the run. We have some beat up wide receivers and so make us throw the ball. We have to throw it better than what we are throwing it.

Q: When you break down the film, do you see enough corrections to be made that you believe if those corrections are made it will make a difference?

Manning: Some are corrections, some are just making plays or making a throw, or hanging in the pocket. I see enough good things and I see enough things that are correctable, sometimes they fall into things, or you have tipped passes when you have guys open that prevent you from staying in rhythm, or cause a turnover. You see enough good things that we can get on track and score more points offensively.

Q: You mentioned those early drives, why are they not able to continue?

Manning: Every drive has its own reason for stopping. Whether it’s a penalty, whether it’s a missed throw or a drop, a tipped ball, whatever might get you into a third down and don’t convert. Each own has its own rhyme or reason and we have to find ways to be more consistent throughout the game.

Q: Do you have to fight human nature in your own head to not think this is happening again, being 0-2?

Manning: I think you have your mindset on what you need to do to get better, to get better as a group and as a team and work on those things.

Q: You were in a similar position a couple years ago when Geno Smith started. Anything from that situation that you learned or that you would like done differently?

Manning: No, not thinking about it right now.

Q: How important is it to get clarity as soon as possible?

Manning: Not important.

Manning: ‘Just excited, excited about this team, the players we have’

He has already played more games than any player in Giants history and when he takes his first snap on Sunday, Eli Manning will become the first to play 16 seasons with the franchise.

Sixteen years in any job is impressive, let alone quarterback, with its constant physical pounding and mental challenges, the ceaseless scrutiny and pressure to win, and potential successors lurking in every college class. Manning has two Super Bowl MVP awards, numerous passing records and universal admiration as a player and person, but he deserves to take a bow for his longevity alone.

Not that he’d ever do that. Because for Manning, what is important never concerns individual achievement and past accomplishments. It’s always about team goals and the next challenge. And this week the focus in both of those areas is the season opener Sunday afternoon against NFC East rival Dallas in AT&T Stadium.

“Just excited, excited about this team, the players we have, about the work we have been able to accomplish these last five weeks,” Manning said today. “Looking forward to making all that count toward the first regular season game, in the division, on the road. A great opportunity for us to go out there and play well.”

Manning played sparingly in the preseason, throwing only 13 passes on 28 snaps in the first three games before sitting out the finale in New England. He completed nine of those throws.

That was more combined action than the three players who figure to be the Giants’ primary offensive weapons against the Cowboys. Neither Saquon Barley nor Sterling Shepard stepped on the field, and Evan Engram participated in 10 plays, all in Cincinnati. For the first time, Manning will get to utilize the team’s Rookie of the Year running back and best wide receiver and tight end.

“Obviously, we have to get all three of those guys involved,” Manning said. “It’s just a matter of everybody doing their job, that’s what a team is. It’s 11 guys all on the same page to have success. It starts up front with the offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage, finding running lanes and me finding the open receivers and then executing running and catching the ball and doing the fundamentals correctly. I think we have guys that know what they are doing and they can make great plays when you give them the opportunity.”

One of the most important determinants of offensive success will be the line, which has been rejuvenated by the arrival of guard Kevin Zeitler and tackle Mike Remmers on the right side, and the return of center Jon Halapio, who missed the final 14 games last season with a leg injury. Tackle Nate Solder and guard Will Hernandez, both of whom played every snap last season, remain on the left side.

Manning was sacked a career-high 47 times last year. And though he has never once mentioned it – again, not his style – it states the obvious to say the Giants would like their 38-year-old quarterback to absorb less punishment.

“I think the offensive line is strong,” Manning said. “I think for the talent and the guys we brought in and the old guys we have and just the comfort level the guys have. That first year going into a new offense last year with a lot of new guys can take a little time for everybody to get on the same page. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to have mistakes before you fix them. I think now a more vet group, a more experienced group with guys that have been around and played together, I think a lot of the questions have already been answered and now we have to go out there and play well.”

That’s really all that concerns Manning this week. Other potential issues or impending milestones are just clutter to be swept aside. Take, for example, the question he fielded from a reporter about whether the presence of first-round draft choice and heir apparent Daniel Jones will “push you more.”

“I don’t think that’s necessarily the concern,” Manning said. “I think you are pushed to go succeed always. You prepare to go out there and win football games, that’s the mindset. You want to do it for all the guys in this locker room, the coaches, this organization, the fans and everybody that puts so much effort into having a great year. That pushes you more than who else is on your team.”

He is similarly unmoved about crossing the 16-season threshold.

“I guess it is something to be proud of,” Manning said, “and I’m just blessed to be with this organization. No one has enjoyed playing for this organization more than I have, and I’ve been appreciative of it. I have a great respect and love for the Giants and the whole history of the organization.”

Manning is a huge part of that history. He hopes to begin writing some more of it, beginning Sunday.

*Pro Football Hall of Famers Mel Hein and Michael Strahan and quarterback Phil Simms are the only other players to wear a Giants uniform for 15 seasons.

*Manning – who has started every Kickoff Weekend game since 2005 – will become the fourth quarterback in history to start at least 15 consecutive season openers with one team. He will join the following players:

Brett Favre (15 with Green Bay from 1993-2007)

Dan Marino (16 with Miami from 1984-99)

John Elway (16 with Denver from 1983-98)

*Manning statistical oddity of the day: In his first 15 seasons, Manning was sacked 406 times for losses totaling 2,826 yards. At home, he was sacked 203 times for 1,417 yards. On the road, he was sacked 203 times for 1,409 yards

Article/courtesy: Michael Eisen