Giants' Eli Manning Says He Has to Accept New Role as Backup QB to Daniel Jones

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2019

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks to pass while under pressure during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since being benched in favor of rookie Daniel Jones, saying he's planning to "make the best" of being a backup.

"I'm not dying, and the season's not over. There's a lot to be positive about, a lot to be grateful for. I just have to accept my new role and make the best of it," Manning told reporters.

Manning, 38, has started 232 of the Giants' last 233 games. The lone exception was a one-week benching in favor of Geno Smith in 2017.

While that benching was temporary, this one appears to be permanent. The Giants selected the former Duke quarterback with the sixth overall pick in April's draft, a move many viewed as a reach. Jones impressed in the preseason to the point some wondered whether he should be the Giants' Week 1 starter.

The coaching staff and front office demurred on that point, but it didn't take long for them to make a change. Manning threw for 556 yards and two touchdowns against as many interceptions in the Giants' pair of season-opening losses, and he ranks near the bottom of nearly every statistical category among quarterbacks.

"Ultimately, this is a move that I felt was best for this team at this time," Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. "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."

Jones had limited success at Duke. He never topped 3,000 passing yards or 22 touchdowns during his three years as a starter and tossed 52 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. By contrast, Kyler Murray threw 42 touchdowns and seven picks in his one season as Oklahoma's starting quarterback.

Jones will take over an offense with limited talent aside from Saquon Barkley. Evan Engram has flashed some pass-catching skills at tight end, but the team has one of the worst receiving corps in football and a shaky offensive line. To say Jones will be fighting an uphill battle is an understatement.


On the latest episode of The Lefkoe Show, Adam Lefkoe and Brian Westbrook are getting into the biggest story of the day: is Eli Manning (2x Super Bowl champ, in case you hadn't heard) a Hall of Famer? The debate goes in a variety of interesting directions, culminating in Westbrook's epic defense of how Donovan McNabb was unfairly treated throughout his NFL career. Which leads to the ultimate debate: Who is the greatest black quarterback of all-time? The answer may surprise you, but the data does not lie! Check back throughout the NFL season for more in-depth football analysis from Lefkoe and Eagles legend Brian Flippin' Westbrook!

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