There was a certain level of unease, given how he was promoted to the No. 1 spot. However, the player known affectionately as Danny Dimes went about his business in a no-nonsense fashion similar to the man he’s replacing.
After practice, Jones addressed the media. He was inundated with a relentless stream of questions. The 22-year-old former Duke Blue Devil sometimes struggled to find the right words. He wanted to avoid anything that could be misconstrued and turned into a negative headline.
The Giants liked Jones because his build and temperament are similar to that of Eli Manning. The similarities were on full display during the presser. Jones demonstrated the right blend of excitement for his opportunity and reverence for the player he’s supplanting.
“I certainly feel good about how far I’ve come, and my preparation, and my progress since I got here in the spring and through camp, through these first couple weeks, so, you know, we’ll try to make sure we have the best week we can and I’ll certainly do all I can to be as prepared as possible. I feel ready and certainly looking forward to the opportunity,” Jones said.
Naturally, the New York media wasn’t going to let Jones off the hook. They fired question after question about his relationship with Manning. Jones had nothing but good things to say about the two-time Super Bowl MVP.
“He was very supportive of me. I understand the circumstances. It’s a difficult one,” Jones said. “How we communicate will be the same. He’s done it for a long time at a really high level so there’s certainly a ton I can continue to learn from him, and will. I can’t say enough about who he is as a person and a teammate.”
Manning addressed the media as well on Wednesday, pledging his support of Jones as a teammate and mentor.
Jones will make his first career start at Raymond James Stadium against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday afternoon. Although he will be protected by a much-improved offensive line, he will be without top wide receivers Sterling Shepard (concussion) and Golden Tate (suspension).
Some Giants fans were taken aback by the way Jones’ ascension to the starting job went down. Once the shock wore off, they used the power of the dollar to rally behind him.
Jones’ No. 8 jersey is now one of the hottest in the NFL. According to sports apparel shop Fanatics (whose network includes the official NFL Shop and the Giants online store) sales have increased 500 percent since head coach Pat Shurmur made the announcement of the quarterback change on Tuesday morning. In fact, more Jones jerseys were sold on Tuesday than in the previous two weeks combined.