The transition process from a franchise icon to the next young prospect is never easy, but, in New York, it went as smooth as you could possibly ask for in 2019 as the Giants handed the reins over to first-round pick Daniel Jones from two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning. Still, as long as the No. 10 jersey was hanging in the locker room, it was always going to be a bit awkward whenever Jones tried to find his voice as a leader with his new organization. Now that Manning has hung up his cleats and retired from the NFL, the two-time Super Bowl MVP believes Jones will find it easier to ascend into a leadership role with the Giants.
"I think it will be easier this year for him to kinda step up as that leader,'' Manning told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday, as transcribed by the New York Post. "Last year was probably awkward for him, me being there, me being in meeting rooms and just kinda the whole dynamic. Me being gone and hey, he is the quarterback, he is the guy, for him to have that control and the authority over receivers and offensive line.
"I think he's proven to be tough and works hard, he's done all the right things, he has gone in with that approach of keeping his head down and not saying more than he has to, working hard and earning the respect from the teammates. Now he can elevate that where now he's in charge. The questions are coming to him from the coordinator, he's gonna have to give his voice and his opinion on things.''
After Manning was given the hook as the starter after Week 2, Jones came in and showed that he was worthy to be labeled as the franchise's future. He completed nearly 62% of his passes for 3,027 yards, 24 touchdowns, and threw 12 interceptions. He's still a raw prospect, and he'll need to clean up the turnovers, but he's certainly someone who New York can potentially build around in the years to come. With Manning now enjoying retirement, Jones can walk into the facility knowing that it's his team, which is a necessary step in building his confidence as a leader as he tries to create a similar legacy to his former teammate.