On Monday, rumors out of the Meadowlands in New Jersey gained steam that New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s days as the team’s starter were numbered. Head Coach Pat Shurmur declined to comment on whether or not his team would make a change at the position for the remainder of the season. Today, the Giants have made a statement as an organization by announcing that backup QB Daniel Jones will replace Manning in the starting lineup this Sunday on the road, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Jones, the 6th overall pick in last April’s NFL Draft and the clear-cut heir apparent as Manning’s successor takes over after a very strong showing in the preseason. The former Duke signal caller completed 85% of his passes while adding two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The change relegates Manning to the bench after 15 years at the helm for the “G-Men”. During that span, he has started a franchise record 232 games while completing 60.3% of his passes, throwing for 56,537 yards and adding 362 touchdowns. As a starter he owns a career record of 116-116, which is highlighted by two Super Bowl victories against the New England Patriots during the earlier part of this millennium.
According to ESPN, Shurmur says, “Ultimately, this is a move that I felt was best for this team at this time,” 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.”
There was never a question of “IF” Manning would be replaced, as) it was only a matter of time before the Giants would move on from their most accomplished QB in franchise history. The team is once again 0-2 for the sixth-time in seven seasons and are looking for answers, following a season that saw the team finish 5-11.
Manning’s decline in play isn’t the only reason for the Giants lack of success. The team is slowly attempting to rebuild, having shipped many of their top performers and earners including Odell Beckham Jr. this past off-season. Currently, the defense is very underwhelming as New York has lost their first two games by a combined 32 points.
There’s no doubt that this is the right move for the Giants regarding their long-term success and sustainability as an organization. However, it may not be the right time. The wide-receiver corps are depleted due to injuries and suspensions, which will make things difficult for Jones early on during his tenure as starter. The team is attempting to accelerate their rebuild and will get 14 games to evaluate the rookie QB, but it seems that the team doesn’t have a strong foundation built around him. It would be ideal for him to sit behind Manning for the season and not rush his ascent.
Finally, what message is the team sending? The move is being made after another slow-start and is an attempt to shake things up, yet it almost disgraces Manning who doesn’t go out on his own terms now, and risks his chances of one day entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. If they were planning to make this move, he should have been released in the off-season after drafting Jones or at the very least during the preseason. Manning has been very marginal compared to the other quarterbacks of his generation, however he deserves better than this after delivering two rings to the “Big Apple”.
Header Photo Credit: Newsday
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