The Giants players and Giants fans knew this move was coming. They knew it the day the Giants drafted Duke quarterback Daniel Jones as the No. 6 overall pick this spring. Even Giants quarterback Eli Manning braced for this to happen. It was out there.
The quarterback change happened Tuesday morning when the Giants announced Jones would make his first NFL career start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
It was surprising it happened quickly after two games. It says here he would be starting sometime in October in the worst case scenario. No later than Week 8, which he would start in a soft landing spot on the road at Detroit.
The Giants made it a priority to make sure their shiny new toy would start at quarterback this season. The future is now. They just didn’t want him to start in Week 3, but beleaguered Giants head coach Pat Shurmur saw enough of Manning to want a change. Truth be told, if he had his way, Jones would be starting two weeks ago in the Giants season opener.
Now that he got his wish, he is on the clock along with the incompetent Giants general manager Dave Gettleman. We will find out how good both are at their jobs, which is the beauty of this decision.
The quarterback change puts Shurmur on notice now after an underwhelming Giants coaching career of 5-13 and a laughable coaching record of 15-36. His job status depends on how Jones improves as a quarterback this season. It would also help if he started winning some games. He wanted a quarterback that would be mobile and fit his play-action offense. He gets his wish, and now it’s on him to make sure results come.
By extension, Gettleman should be on notice, too. Most of his draft picks have been busts so far, and that’s on him. He sounds like Ron Wolf when he talks about building football teams, but his decisions reeks of John Idzik. Jones defines the legacy of the Giants general manager for good or for bad. No doubt about that.
Gettleman made a sound decision to draft Saquon Barkley. But if Sam Darnold turns out to be a star and Jones becomes a bust, then not only he will be ripped for having the foresight to draft the Duke quarterback, but he will be and should be criticized even more for drafting Barkley over Darnold.
No one knows how good Jones is going to be. A risky pick indeed. But Gettleman found something that others couldn’t see in Jones, so he is fair game for criticism if this turns out to be a bust. The Giants paid and hired him to get this one right.
Make no mistake. Jones must be good now or at least show he made strides heading to next season. If he plays like Christian Ponder or Blake Bortles this season, Shurmur and Gettleman should be fired. The Giants would have to draft the next quarterback of the future, and the current administration should not be trusted to get another shot of finding the next quarterback, especially with Idzik-like draft picks by Gettleman.
Jones should have started since the first game of the season. There was no reason to keep stalling when he played well in the preseason. It wasn’t fair for the coaching staff and the Giants players for him not to start while being saddled with Manning.
Shame on the Giants for making this an awkward situation by deciding to keep Manning after drafting Jones. The draft should have served as the time to cut the longtime Giants quarterback, not keep this tired charade going that should have ended when Giants head coach Ben McAdoo and Giants general manager Jerry Reese was fired. The Giants wasted two years by forcing Manning on the players that had no use for him since he was useless. Because of this decision, McAdoo and Reese lost their jobs. Remember those two wanted him out going back to McAdoo’s first year on the job.
Don’t cry for Manning. 16 seasons and being well-compensated should be enough. He gets it. He knew the score when the Giants drafted Jones. He understood not many NFL players play for that long, so he’s fortunate.
The Giants season now becomes interesting with the rookie under center. This team offered nothing to watch as long as Manning was playing. I don’t know if the Giants are going to be any better, but it can’t be any worse.
They at least have their fans engaged, which is something the Jets can’t say with their quarterback Sam Darnold out with mononucleosis.
There is no other good timing to do this than now. The Giants get a full season to know what Jones is about, and he gets an opportunity to learn and apply this season. It wasn’t going to happen by having him have a soft landing against a team like the Detroit Lions or have him play in November.
Yes, Jones is at a disadvantage with Golden Tate serving his PED suspension for two mores games and Sterling Shepard and Cody Latimer being diagnosed with concussions. No matter. Productive quarterbacks find a way to overcome hurdles like that. If Jones is as good as Gettleman claims he is, he finds a way.
Again, that’s the beauty of starting Jones. Now, no more excuses provided for Gettleman and Shurmur. They can’t blame Reese, McAdoo or Manning anymore for why the new management struggled to gain traction.
They either sink or swim with Danny Dimes.