In the New York Giants franchise records, there is only one Eli Manning, just like there is only one Daniel Jones.
But that doesn't mean that Jones can't strive to achieve the kind of success that Manning enjoyed throughout his 16-year career with the team. The Giants and head coach Joe Judge want that to be the case--but that "want" comes with a "but."
The "but" is Judge and the Giants want Jones to be himself, to focus on continuing to sharpen what he does well, and to continue trying to smooth out the rough spots in his game that might be holding him back.
In other words, they don't want Jones to be a Manning 2.0, but they would like to see him become as useful and productive, sort of like how an Android phone can be just as useful as an iPhone.
By all accounts, that might seem like a challenging task. Manning has not only endeared himself to the franchise but he's also been brought back in a front-office role.
Jones, who once admitted that having Manning around the locker room during Manning's final season was "a bit awkward," obviously won't have to look over his shoulder as what happens on the field.
At the same time, Jones also understands he can't sit back and relax as he enters a critical third season ahead, intending to answer some lingering questions about his suitability to be Manning's successor.
Judge, however, thinks that Jones is going to manage the expectations with a level head and be his own man.
"Everybody has long-term goals and vision what they want to do and accomplish, but it's gotta be accomplished day by day," Judge recently told Giants Country by phone.
"I think you've got to keep a narrow focus on the present--you gotta know where you're working in the future, and you gotta learn from your past, but you have to operate in the present.
"I think the most important thing for all of our players and that's what has really helped Daniel continue to progress and what he's doing will keep on helping him. He does a great job of having a narrow focus and know is woken on a daily basis to get better."
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Judge has been effusive in his praise of Jones, the sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft whose first two seasons have been marred by turnover issues and a lack of speed in the mental processing aspect of his game.
But Judge said he sees the commitment Jones is putting into honing his craft, and that commitment is a big reason why he feels good about having the former Duke signal-caller at the offense's controls.
"I think it all comes down to the same principle, just doing your job on a daily basis and start with fundamentals and building your knowledge in the system and the scenes and learning the situations within the game, but just doing it day by day and being productive, moving forward," Judge said.
During his final season, Manning made it a point not to create awkward situations for the organization by staying out of sight. Now that he's back in the building, that's not expected to change, at least from a football perspective, though Judge did make it clear that he hopes that Manning and all the former Giants are welcome in the team's locker room.
"There's been a tremendous amount of great players that come through this organization and, you know, be honest, I couldn't be more excited to having Eli back in the building and what he can do to help our team," Judge said.
"And that's something I'm making a focus on. I want all the players back in this building--all the players that played here, this is their home, and they're welcome here. I want them out at practice. I want them in the building. I want them at games.
"I want around our players because our guys should understand the players that came before them and the things they have accomplished here. They are in a culture where they do have some things to live up to, and they have to understand when they go on the field, it's not the same as playing every other organization.
"We've got to take pride in that and embrace that, and Eli and all the other players that ever played here, this is their home, and we're glad to have them around as much as possible."
"The Good, Great & Ugly" Series
WR Kelvin Benjamin | RB Devontae Booker | RB Corey Clement | OLB Lorenzo Carter | CB Isaac Yiadom | TE Kaden Smith | WR Kenny Golladay | TE Levine Toilolo | Edge Ifeadi Odenigbo | DT Danny Shelton | OL Zach Fulton | CB Adoree' Jackson | TE Evan Engram | S Jabrill Peppers | S Xavier McKinney | ILB Reggie Ragland | WR John Ross | TE Kyle Rudolph | OLB Oshane Ximines | LB Carter Coughlin | IDL Dexter Lawrence II | WR Darius Slayton | LB Cam Brown | DL Leonard Williams | OL Will Hernandez | IDL Austin Johnson | IDL B.J. Hill | WR Sterling Shepard | ILB Blake Martinez | DB Logan Ryan | C Nick Gates | OT Matt Peart | CB Darnay Holmes | ILB Tae Crowder | CB James Bradberry
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