It didn’t come as much of a surprise, but New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur named Eli Manning the team’s starting quarterback on Friday.
Sixth overall draft pick Daniel Jones has impressed during three preseason games, but the Giants are not ready to oust its 15-year starter quite yet.
“Eli’s our starter, and we’re getting Daniel ready to play,” Shurmur said. “[Jones] has done a good job in the preseason. He’s getting better and he’s going to do continue to do that, so that at whatever time we need him to play, he'll be ready.”
The fact that there was a question at all about whether Manning would start is a story in and of itself. When the Giants first drafted Jones in April, there was plenty of uproar from fans about Jones being a reach so high in the draft.
But Jones has done his best to prove them wrong in three preseason games. Although he had a slight fumble problem in the second game, Jones looks like a star in the making with excellent numbers to match. Through three weeks, he’s 25-of-30 for 369 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Manning has only appeared in the first series of each game, putting up solid numbers along the way, but he was never in real danger of losing the job. At least, until he puts up a stinker in the regular season.
How long before Giants fans call for Jones to play?
The last time the Giants benched Manning, things did not go over well with the fans.
After a 2-9 start in 2017, head coach Ben McAdoo gave the veteran a seat against the Oakland Raiders, but there wasn't a clear long-term plan with Geno Smith under center. The fans revolted, McAdoo was relieved of his duties after the game and Manning started the final four games of the season.
Things will be a little different this time around, since there is far more confidence in Jones than there ever was in Smith, Davis Webb or Kyle Lauletta. It’s probably only a matter of time before some portion of the fan base calls for Jones to start, if they’re not already.
At some point in the regular season, Manning will have a bad game. Maybe a couple bad ones in a row. It’s easy to resist calls to play Jones now while Manning is playing relatively well, but the quarterback of the future may soon be the quarterback of the present the way things are trending.
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