Eli Manning thinks Daniel Jones will 'step up as that leader' for Giants following his departure: report

Eli Manning is confident that his departure from the New York Giants this offseason will allow second-year quarterback Daniel Jones to step up in a big way.

While most rookies flourish under veteran quarterbacks, Manning told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday that his presence likely made things “awkward” for Jones, who took over the starting role in Week 3.

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“I think it will be easier this year for him to kinda step up as that leader,” Manning said, according to Giants Wire. “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.”

Despite only winning three out of a dozen starts, Jones had a promising first year, throwing for over 3,000 passing yards with a 61.9 completion percentage.

“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,” Manning said.

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“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.”

Manning retired at the end of the 2019 season after 16 seasons with the Giants and two Super Bowl championships.

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He finished his career with 57,023 passing yards and 366 touchdown passes. He ranks in the top 10 all-time in both statistical categories.