The Daniel Jones era will begin on Sunday.
Giants head coach Pat Shurmur opened the door to making a change at quarterback on Monday when he declined to say Eli Manning would start against the Buccaneers. It would have been surprising to make such a public show of doubt in Manning’s ability to do the job before going back to him again this week and the Giants won’t do that.
The team announced on Tuesday morning that Jones will make his first NFL start this weekend. The first-round pick looked good during his preseason work and the quick move to put him in the starting lineup makes one wonder if he would have been the starter in Week One if not for the Giants’ sentimental attachment to Manning.
“Ultimately, this is a move that I felt was best for this team at this time,” Shurmur said in a statement. “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.”
The veteran was not helped by a skeletal receiving corps or an underwhelming defense in the first two weeks of this season, but his results weren’t markedly better when the team had more robust supporting casts in recent seasons. Jones’s arrival in April meant Manning’s time in the starting lineup was limited, although suggestions from the team were that it would be a while longer before pulling the plug.
Given the quarterback injuries around the league, the Giants could conceivably look to trade Manning if he has interest in continuing his career elsewhere and other teams believe he’d be better than options already on hand. The Giants have decided they have one and Jones will start trying to prove them right this weekend.