By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The New York Giants suffered their second defeat to the hands of the Buffalo Bills in their home opener 28-14. They had chances to win that game, but their defense once again failed to make big plays when they needed to. The loss has now started the million dollar question that many fans and sports writers have been asking since the 2019 NFL draft? When will Daniel Jones start? Head Coach Pat Shurmur has not named a starter for the upcoming matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week in Tampa Bay. There are factors favoring both sides of the coin on whether or not Jones should take over and replace Eli Manning for game 3. Let’s look at each side and decide:
Start Daniel Jones
- Giants 0-2 record: The Giants have looked nothing like a team expecting to make the playoffs based off their first two games thus far. The most telling tale is the Giants poor defensive performance allowing 31.5 points per game. From missing tackles to blown coverage assignments, they just haven’t looked good at all.
- Manning’s 38 years old: Many quarterbacks seem to ignore the hands of time and are still performing at a high level despite their age (Tom Brady and Drew Brees). Manning has not performed poorly in the first two games (56/89 for 556 yards with 2 TDS and 2 INTS) and is certainly not the reason the team is winless thus far. However; the fact of the matter is that the offense is only generating 15.5 points a game and unfortunately this usually is a reflection on the quarterback.
- Look towards the future: At some point the Giants need to find out if Jones is capable of leading this team and be their future quarterback. The Giants waited too long in 2017 with Davis Webb and also in 2018 with Kyle Lauletta to make a proper assessment and really never gave either quarterback enough playing time to make an accurate evaluation. Jones was the best quarterback in pre-season in terms of overall performance and many believe he’s ready.
Start Eli Manning
- It’s still too early: If GM Dave Gettleman and the rest of the Giants organization truly believe that this team is a legitimate playoff caliber team, then having a proven commodity at quarterback to lead them would make sense. Based off the first two games, Manning is still capable of being that guy for the Giants.
- Eli Manning still producing: As I mentioned earlier, Manning is not the reason this team is winless and his numbers reflect that. Does Eli Manning give the Giants the best chance to win over rookie Daniel Jones? Maybe or maybe not.
- Daniel Jones not ready: Many believe that thrusting Jones into the fire this early could cause the rookie a major setback. Jones relieved Manning briefly against the Cowboys and did well enough to dispel that theory (3/4 for 17 yards). Replacing Manning with Jones will not be a move to make the playoffs, but instead begin the rebuilding process for a team that has been in limbo since 2012, making the playoffs just once during that time (2016).
Final Thoughts: The decision on whether to start Daniel Jones or not this Sunday is not about benching Eli Manning. It’s really about the Giants organization and which direction they’re planning to go moving forward. Daniel Jones is the future for the Giants at quarterback and Eli Manning is not. Jones may not put up better numbers than Manning, but it’s not about that right now. It’s about making sure the Giants made the right decision on draft night with their selection of Daniel Jones in the 1st round (6th overall). Throughout NFL history, there has been future Hall of Fame quarterbacks eventually being replaced, some good and some bad. The transition from Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and Joe Montana with Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck and Steve Young respectfully was a success. However; sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, citing quarterbacks such as: Marty Domres, Scott Hunter and Quincy Carter replacing Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr and Troy Aikman. Eli Manning has been everything the Giants had hoped for over his Hall of Fame career, but all good things must come to an end. That end could start this coming Sunday against the Buccaneers or the Giants could wait until they field a healthy team to give Jones a better supporting cast. Either way, it’s time to make the move.