Eli Manning: I think the Giants are heading in the right direction

Eli Manning retired just over a year ago in Jan. 2020 after 16 years as a Giants quarterback.

Now as an observer, he feels the franchise has been on an upward trajectory this offseason.

“It’s been great,” Manning said in an interview with SI.com, via the Giants website. “They’re obviously committed to turning this around. They feel great about a lot of positions where they are and I think coach [Joe] Judge has done a great job. The fact that they are a young team, and they’ve drafted well, have all these guys that are growing within this program and under his leadership, I think they’re heading in the right direction.

“In the NFL, sometimes all it takes is a few players to really go from kind of that middle-of-the-pack to a playoff-caliber team.”

One of the biggest factors for whether or not New York will make that jump will be quarterback Daniel Jones’ progression in Year Three. Manning noted Jones should benefit from the continuity of having Jason Garrett as his offensive coordinator for another season.

“It’s hard when you have a quarterback in his second year, second offensive coordinator, a lot of changes,” Manning said. “The fact that he’ll be going into the same offense for two consecutive years will help him, help him grow as a player, be more comfortable in the offense.

“I know he works extremely hard, I know he’s committed and dedicated to doing whatever possible, I know it’s important for him to have success and to be a leader and to get back to winning football games for the Giants. Having those qualities is the start that you need to eventually have success in the NFL. I think he has those things. He of course has the talent, the ability to make the plays. It’s just combining all those together, plus getting the guys around him that can help him, and I think that’s what the Giants are doing.”

Jones has been a middling QB since the Giants selected him at No. 6 overall in 2019. In 2020, he threw for 2,943 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His passer rating of 80.4 was 30th among 35 qualified quarterbacks, illustrating the need for improvement. Jones will have a chance to display it with new targets like Kenny Golladay and tight end Kyle Rudolph, along with the return of running back Saquon Barkley.