Eagles: Eli Manning “Jazzes Up” the Giants

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Patricia Traina

Regardless of how long a high ankle sprain sidelines Daniel Jones, he is the franchise’s future whose tenure began perhaps a little bit earlier than anyone anticipated.

While Jones has had his ups and downs in cutting is teeth, unfortunately, the Giants have struggled. 

The run blocking and pass protection have regressed, the team’s top skill position players—Saquon Barkley, receivers Golden Tate, and Sterling Shepard, and tight end Evan Engram—have yet to be active at the same time, and the play-calling has left something to be desired.

But this week, the offense will be under the leadership of Eli Manning, the long-time franchisee starter who was demoted to backup after the team began 0-2. 

Manning, who this year is 56 of 89 (62.9%) for 556 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions, has been taking the first-team reps in practice while Jones, whose right foot is still in a protective walking boot, is doing everything he can to get back before the end of the season.  

Although Manning doesn’t offer mobility, his return to the lineup can bring a different dimension that the Giants, desperate to avoid losing their ninth game in a row, haven’t had with the rookie: a veteran presence who has seen it all. 

“Eli—he’s a legend. He’s a Hall of Famer. He just sees the field so well,” said running back Saquon Barkley. 

“He understands the game so well, he’s been doing it for a very long time, and it’s what you expect from Eli.”

While no one will mistake Manning for the more mobile Jones, Manning’s experience could provide a bit of a jolt to a Giants offense that, after eclipsing 350 yards in each of his first two starts this season, has struggled to move the ball, hitting the 300-yard mark four times.

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Eagles defensive back Malcolm Jenkins said there is a very noticeable difference in the playing styles of both Jones and Manning, and that because of that difference, the Eagles defense might find it a bit trickier to fool the veteran.  

“I think Jones is a little more mobile, holds the ball a little longer, and looks for those throws down the field, whereas Eli is really better when he can get the ball out of his hands quick. He knows how to read the blitzes and knows where to go with the ball,” he said.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, once a backup quarterback in the NFL, believes that Manning will “jazz up” and motivate the football team.

“One of Eli’s strengths 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,” Pederson said.

“I think it’s something that Eli has probably sat and watched and observed, and he’s going to use that to his advantage.”

Despite Manning’s presence behind center, don’t expect the Giants offense to change too much.

“It doesn’t change anything; it’s not like our offense changed so much,” Barkley said. “I remember when D.J. became the starting quarterback and all you guys were like, ‘Oh, what’s this? This is going to be different.’ No. We’re still going to be able to run RPOs, and we’re still going to have the same offense, the same scheme.

“At the end of the day, even though it’s the same scheme, we’ve got to execute better. That’s what we haven’t been doing in these previous weeks in this losing streak, and we’ve got to do that this week.”