The New York Giants have decided to start rookie quarterback Daniel Jones which could spell the end of the Eli Manning era in the Big Apple.
Eli Manning Benched by Giants
After starting 0-2 for the sixth time in the last seven seasons, the New York Giants have benched Eli Manning in favor of rookie Daniel Jones. When you draft a quarterback sixth overall, it’s because you see him as the possible future of your franchise. Giants general manager Dave Gettleman had expressed that he would prefer Jones to spend the year learning behind Manning the way Patrick Mahomes did with Alex Smith. In the end that’s not how things worked out and Giants head coach Pat Shurmur decided to make the move now.
The timing of the move seems curious considering how much money the team have invested in Eli Manning for this year. Had the Giants cut ties with Manning before the start of the season, they would have saved $17 million dollars against the cap. By keeping him, they limited the roster moves they were able to make this off season.
Giants Slow Start Not Eli’s Fault
For the past few seasons, it has been apparent to everyone expect Giants management that it was time to move on from Eli. After another slow start this season, it would be easy to blame him for the team’s lack of success. That is simply not the case as Manning has been decent. Of course you expect more from the 13th highest paid QB in the league but he hasn’t been the reason they are not winning.
The Giants defense is easily one of the worst in the NFL at the moment. They have given up 35 and 28 points in their first two games. While the Dallas offense is looking great to start the season, the Buffalo Bills aren’t exactly an offensive powerhouse. The Giants do not have a pass rush which puts extra pressure on a secondary that isn’t very talented. If this team expected Manning to be able to produce 30+ points per game just to compete, he never had a chance.
Daniel Jones Gets His Opportunity Earlier Than Expected
When Daniel Jones was drafted 6th overall, many fans around New York were very skeptical about the pick. When you think of Duke University, you think basketball, not franchise quarterbacks. A lot of people felt like the Giants only drafted Jones because of his relationship with the Manning family. Both Manning and Jones played for David Cutcliffe in college. Before coaching Eli at Ole Miss, Cutcliffe was the offensive coordinator at Tennessee where he coached Peyton Manning.
Regardless of the reason they drafted him, Jones has now been named the starter. Whatever reservations fans had about his ability were quickly put to bed by his preseason play. He saw action in four games but only started in one of them. Overall he threw for 416 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating in those four games was 137.2.
One performance in particular had fans buzzing about Jones’ potential. In week 3 of the preseason, Jones looked great against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was on a 2nd and 9 play in the second quarter when he took a big shot from what looked like both defensive ends. That was the type of hit than can make a quarterback very nervous in the pocket. Instead on the very next play, he stepped up with pressure in his face again and threw a beautiful 27-yard pass down to the one-yard line. In that same game Jones showed impressive arm strength when throwing outside the numbers.
Where Do the Giants and Eli Go from Here?
Playing well in the preseason is great but obviously the level of competition that awaits Jones on Sunday will be much higher. His first opponent will be the Tampa Bay Bucs whose defense looks frisky under Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles. The one positive for the Giants in the first two games has been their pass protection. Eli Manning has only been sacked twice in two games and Daniel Jones will hope that continues for him to have any chance of success.
As for Eli Manning, it would be hard to imagine him in any other uniform. At the same time, it was hard to imagine his brother Peyton in anything but a Colts jersey until he won a Super Bowl wearing Broncos colors. If Eli doesn’t feel like he’s finished, there is a possibility he could sign with another team. It would have to be a situation where he comes into an already established team looking for that final piece. Whatever he chooses to do, he will always be remembered in New York as a two-time Super Bowl MVP and one of the greatest players in franchise history.