Giants co-owner John Mara is rooting for quarterback Eli Manning to play the full season. Mara’s dream scenario could still be derailed when the season starts.
Consider the following answer from coach Pat Shurmur, who interrupted this very direct and simple question from a reporter: “Do you like Daniel enough to give him a shot at the job earlier than –”
“I’ve said it all along. Daniel, when it’s his time to play is gonna be ready, and we’re gonna continue to get him ready,” Shurmur replied. “We got a couple of weeks left before we play Dallas.”
Let that sink in for a minute, and then go back and read it again. Shurmur didn’t say, “Eli is the Week One starter.” Shurmur kept the door open for Jones to get the start, deliberately mentioning the Week One game against the Cowboys.
It’s hard to reconcile that with Mara’s recent musings, especially since Shurmur has previously made it clear that he defers to the boss. If that’s the case, though, why not declare Eli Manning to be the season-starting starter?
Here’s one possibility: The Giants may be trying to push Eli’s buttons a little, hoping that he gets a little (or a lot) pissed off about the uncertainty and that he responds well to having Jones hovering over his shoulder. When I raised that one with Chris Simms during Friday’s PFT Live, he said that’s precisely the kind of thing that some coaches (like Jon Gruden) would do.
Regardless, Jones is looking like a guy who deserved to be the sixth pick in the draft. And he’s handling extremely well the noise and the pressure and everything that goes along with being the quarterback of an NFL franchise headquartered in New York. The only question left for the Giants is whether they will decide that it’s time to lay the foundation for the future by breaking from the past, or whether they will wait for the murmurs that favor passing the torch to become a full-throated scream.