During a live chat with fans on Tuesday, Giants WR Steve Smith was asked to describe his quarterback, Eli Manning, in one word.
He chose “driven.”
Smith, Manning’s teammate of three-plus seasons, went on to say that Manning is determined to be great, and in his estimation, is still improving each year. He described in detail many of the things Manning does behind the scenes, which led to a discussion about leadership. He had some great insight into who Manning is off the field.
I asked Smith if he thinks people really understand the real Manning that he sees.
“I definitely don’t think they do,” Smith responded. “He’s competitive, he’s funny, he has a good time, he’s loose and isn’t all tight.
“My first year here, he wasn’t as vocal. … Eli, last year especially, took command of the huddle and he set up meetings with the receivers after practice when we didn’t have to be there to go over film. I just think he’s really elevated his leadership role.”
Smith said teammates “want to follow” Manning. Hearing Smith’s choice of words, it seems that Manning has evolved into the leader everyone always wanted him to be, regardless of whether anyone truly noticed or not.
“He’s been making people more comfortable with him. They trust him more,” Smith said. “You can talk to him about whatever; you can go hang out with him, go sit with him, and he’s just one of the guys. He’s Eli Manning. That’s how pretty much everyone feels, how guys feel now. That’s why we believe in him as our leader.”
So there’s some fodder for you Giants fans on an offseason Tuesday.