Back home in New Orleans, early in the 2019 season, Archie Manning didn’t understand the Giants’ need for His son Eli’s seat is in favor of Daniel Jones. Archie had nothing against the coach who made the call, Pat Shurmur, or the notion that high-profile first-rounders like Jones shouldn’t sit back and watch and wait like they did in the good old days.
But still, it hurts. As the NFL’s quarterback for 14 years and a former Division 1 quarterback, Archie Manning knew exactly what it took to play that position. He didn’t see what others saw in the sixteenth and final season of Ellie’s distinguished career.
“A lot of people thought Ellie had his water washed up and you have to get him out of there,” Manning said Wednesday by phone. “I didn’t feel Eli washed up. He was pretty much the same player he was years before that. … But he did his best when he had a balanced running game, and they didn’t have those last five years there.”
So Jones, from Duke, takes Ellie’s job to keep her safe, while Ellie’s father watches. Archie grew up a Giants fan in Mississippi because his father adored former Ole Miss star Charlie Connerly, who helped the Giants win the NFL title in 1956, and as much as saw Jones struggle in his first three years, losing 25 of his first 37. starts while throwing 29 interceptions and 36 fumbles, Manning wasn’t surprised in the least. Quarterback appearance in Season 4.
“I always believed in Daniel,” said Manning, who had Duke a quarterback in his annual pass academy and who knew him through former Blue Devils coach David Cutcliffe, Former teacher of Peyton and Ellie.
“Daniel is physically very good, and he’s smart, and he checks all the boxes. It just upset me.” [fans and media] They were attacking him. It wasn’t much different from the past few years for Ellie. When you can’t run the ball, you will rarely succeed in the passing game.
“So it’s great to see Sakon [Barkley] this good year, And that extends to Daniel playing better. He plays good football, and is the cutest kid in the world. He has some similarities to Ellie in how he handles things. He does not speak words and does not make excuses.”
After being informed that Giants owner John Mara had told The Post that he envisioned Jones being a future Super Bowl winner “without any hesitation,” Manning quickly embraced the assessment.
“I think Daniel can take his team to the Super Bowl,” he said. “I think Daniel could be one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He’s accurate on the football, he’s strong, he has the ability to run away and he’s smart. If you put a good team around Daniel, he can lead them the right way.”
Jones helped the Giants achieve an astonishing 7-2 record by protecting the ball—he hadn’t made an interception since a Week 3 loss to Dallas, and he cut their deficit to three—and by using his athleticism on the run. He had a near-perfect passer rating at 153.3 against Houston, and needed 37 rushing yards against Detroit to surpass his season-high of 423 earned in 14 games in 2020.
In his locker room on Wednesday, Jones answered questions about the heavy, Sacon-centric offense his coach, Brian Dabul has relied on, and about whether the quarterback would prefer to let him rip. Jones would certainly never say, “Hey, it would be nice if I had some wide receivers to work with,” so instead he maintained that he only cared about one thing.
“I think we all just want to win,” he said. “No matter what position you play…you want to score as many points as possible and win the game. That’s where we all focus. That’s where I focus.”
Although Jones admits that high-scoring penalties are “definitely fun to play in”, Daboll’s conservative style suits him. “I think I’ve gotten better from week to week,” Jones said. “I think I’m probably playing better than I’ve been in years past.”
Archie Manning will confirm that from afar. With his wife, Olivia, he watches Jones every week, and Archie sends Ellie support texts here and there. Manning told The Post he hopes to see Jones get some help In the form of Odell Beckham Jr’s signature — “I’d love to see it,” Archie said — and he’s proud of what the Giants have achieved over the first nine games.
He said, “I love their spirit.” “They play like a playoff team. But you still have to finish.”
Eli Manning has twice finished first in the Super Bowl, and no one knows if Daniel Jones will. But at least he has the endorsement of Ellie’s dad, which is a very good thing.