The regular season may be over, but there is still a ton going on around the New York Giants. Here are some of the big stories surrounding the Giants from Friday, January 24.
Eli's retirement press conference begins at 11am
After 16 years as quarterback of the New York Giants, Eli Manning has decided to call it a career. Manning will head into retirement as one of the most accomplished players to ever put on a Giants uniform. He is the only player to ever suit up for 16 seasons with the Giants, and his 236 regular season games and 248 total games are both franchise records. Manning led the Giants to two Super Bowl championships, both over the New England Patriots, and took home the MVP Award in both games. The veteran quarterback is the only Giants player to win the award twice, and one of only five players in NFL history to accomplish the feat. Manning was the co-recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2016, and will hang up his cleats owning almost every single Giants career passing record.
"For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field," said John Mara, the Giants' president and chief executive officer. "Eli is our only two-time Super Bowl MVP and one of the very best players in our franchise's history. He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability. It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us. We are beyond grateful for his contributions to our organization and look forward to celebrating his induction into the Giants Ring of Honor in the near future."
"We are proud to have called Eli Manning our quarterback for so many years," said Steve Tisch, Giants chairman and executive vice president. "Eli was driven to always do what was best for the team. Eli leaves a timeless legacy with two Super Bowl titles on the field and his philanthropic work off the field, which has inspired and impacted so many people. We are sincerely thankful for everything Eli has given our team and community. He will always be a Giant among Giants."
At 11 a.m. ET Friday, Manning will officially announce his retirement at a press conference in the field house at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Former teammates, coaches, Giants legends and more will be in attendance to help close out Manning's magnificent career. The press conference will be streaming on Giants.com and the Giants App.
Manning once received advice from Derek Jeter
The night before news broke that Eli Manning would be retiring, another iconic New York sports figure received recognition for an amazing career. Longtime Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame Tuesday evening, coming one vote shy of being just the second player ever to be voted in unanimously. Both players have been praised for their performance and class both on and off the field throughout their entire careers. It should come as no surprise that the two New York sports legends have been connected since Manning's rookie season back in 2004.
As NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones wrote in 2014: "It was back in 2004 when Jeter and Manning initially connected, Eli a rookie in the process of losing the first six games he started. A call came, out of the blue, to Manning's cell phone on a Saturday night before a Sunday game. It was Jeter."
"He said, 'Keep grinding, keep working hard, keep your head up and things will get easier,'" Eli recalls. "It meant a lot to me at the time. I was trying to figure things out. I was trying to learn to play quarterback in New York, with the New York media and everything that goes along with being an athlete in this area. Obviously I knew who Derek Jeter was, and he was playing great and winning championships and seemed to have everything going for him. I appreciated him just reaching out to me. Maybe (it was because he) knew what it was like as a rookie."
Here is a photo from every one of Eli Manning's starts over his 16-year career
Early standouts from Senior Bowl
The Giants are no strangers to the Senior Bowl. In fact, the Giants have selected the last three MVPs from the college all-star game, including Daniel Jones. Practices for the 2020 Senior Bowl ran from Tuesday to Thursday, and while the big game doesn't kick off until Saturday afternoon, a few players have already made strong impressions on draft analysts down in Mobile, Alabama.
"Jason Strowbridge, DE, North Carolina. All I could think of standing next to Bill Belichick on the sideline on Tuesday while watching Strowbridge was Deatrich Wise. The former Tar Heel looks like a Patriots pass rusher. Wise went to the Pats in the fourth round in 2017. A lot of times you'll see guys with traits who are kind of raw go in that round, and Strowbridge might fit that mold. He's tough. He's physical. And he helped himself on Tuesday. His North team is being coached this week by the Lions' Matt Patricia, Belichick's former D-coordinator. So who knows? Maybe Detroit and New England will both be targeting him come April.
Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin. I knew coming into this week, based on my tape study, that Baun can dip and rip and get around the corner. I wanted to see him use counters this week, and on Tuesday, he had a spin counter that was fantastic. He played on the line and off the ball during practice, showing his versatility. I expected him to have a good week and I think he's off to a really good start."
Josh Jones, OT, Houston. Jones had some ups and downs during Tuesday's practice -- it's not uncommon for offensive linemen to start off a little slower than defensive linemen at the Senior Bowl -- but on Wednesday, he was impressive. He got into Wisconsin LB Zack Baun -- one of the top performers on Tuesday -- and moved him down the field. In pass pro, he was shutting people down. I talked to some personnel people here who shared my enthusiasm for his performance. He looks better than Tytus Howard did here last year. I think Jones is a second-round tackle, but it won't be a surprise if he gets pushed up the board, just like Howard, who went to the Texans in Round 1 last year, did. He's a physical specimen and a lock to go in the top 40. He's just too long, too athletic, and has too much potential at left tackle to last long in the draft."
View the best images from the first day of the 2020 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
ESPN Insider, Pro Football Focus applaud Giants rookie class
ESPN Insider, using Pro Football Focus' wins above replacement metric, released its ranking of the NFL's most productive 2019 rookie classes. The Giants 2019 draft class fared well in these rankings, coming in at No. 4. ESPN praised the selection of Dexter Lawrence, telling readers that the No. 17 overall pick finished with the highest PFF grade of any rookie interior defensive lineman. The Giants were also commended for the late-round picks of Darius Slayton and Julian Love after both players saw promising starts to their NFL careers, as well as the selection of Daniel Jones as the rookie QB threw 24 touchdown passes.
As the article states, "The ability to get production from players on rookie contracts is one of the biggest competitive edges NFL teams can create. It is easier to do that with a wealth of draft capital near the top of the board, of course, but it's important how much a team can get from its draft picks relative to where they were taken rather than just blindly adding together all the production from the class.
If Player X and Player Y have similar seasons, the production from Player Y, taken in the sixth round, is much more valuable than the production a team gets from first-round-pick Player X.
Pro Football Focus has unveiled its wins above replacement metric in recent weeks (PFF WAR), and we used it to rank all 32 teams on the value of their rookie class over expectation given where each player was selected in the 2019 draft."