Daniel Jones Named Giants' Starting QB vs. Buccaneers over Eli Manning

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2019

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, left, practices alongside quarterback Eli Manning (10) before an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Frank Victores/Associated Press

A new era of New York Giants football may be upon us.

The team announced Tuesday that Daniel Jones will replace Eli Manning as the starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Per Michael Eisen of Giants.com, head coach Pat Shurmur said of the change:

"Ultimately, this is a move that I felt was best for this team at this time. I have said it since I got here, I am very fond of Eli. His work ethic, his preparation, his football intelligence. All those attributes are as good as I have ever seen in a player. And Eli worked as hard as you could ask of anybody to get ready for this season. This move is more about Daniel moving forward than about Eli."

Shurmur said Manning was "obviously disappointed" with the decision but noted the quarterback "said he would be what he has always been, a good teammate, and continue to prepare to help this team win games."

New York laid out its succession plan when it selected Jones with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft. The only question was how long the team would wait before elevating the former Duke star to the starting role.

Manning will be a free agent after the season, which would've allowed the Giants to make a clean switch if they were content to keep Jones on the sideline for his entire rookie campaign.

But Manning's performance through the first two weeks—on top of back-to-back losses—may have accelerated the Giants' timeline. He has thrown for 556 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

When addressing the quarterback situation at his Monday press conference, Shurmur hedged a bit:

"I think we always do that. Obviously Eli's been our starter to this point. I'm not ready to get into those conversations about any position. ... We're gonna talk about everything moving forward. I think that's fair at this point. We're 0-2, there's areas we got to get better, so we're going to address all areas and try to find ways to put a winning performance on the field."

At this point, going with Jones is the smart move since there isn't much downside for the Giants.

Maintaining the status quo would make sense if New York was a genuine playoff contender. Instead, the Giants won eight games combined in 2017 and 2018 and look set to miss the postseason for a third straight year.

The team has nothing to lose by turning to Jones.

A redshirt season for Jones in 2019 might have worked under different circumstances. The Kansas City Chiefs waited a season before handing Patrick Mahomes the keys to the offense in 2018, and that strategy worked out extremely well.

Mahomes is an outlier, though.

For better or worse, the Giants hitched their wagons to Jones.

Many questioned why New York took him so high in the first round. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller didn't even rank Jones among the top 50 players in his final big board prior to the draft.

Jones impressed during the preseason, going 29-of-34 for 416 yards and two touchdowns in four games. Now he'll have the chance to show he can do that in more meaningful action.

Barring an injury to Jones, Giants fans may have seen the last of Manning as the starter.

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