When Will the Giants Bench Eli Manning and Start Daniel Jones?
Outside of the dumpster fire that is the Miami Dolphins, the New Giants have looked like the worst team in the NFL. Their defense is, unquestionably, an abomination, yielding 63 points in two games, including 28 against the Bills in their Week 2 loss. But while that side of the ball was never going to win games for Big Blue, their offense was expected to be better. Thus far, that hasn’t been the case, and Eli Manning has to shoulder much of the blame.
The Giants have failed to score 20 points in either of their first two games, averaging 15.5, despite Saquon Barkley rushing for over 100 yards in each contest. That Barkley is doing so while the defense stacks the box speaks to his greatness, but it also speaks to Manning’s inefficiency. Yes, the Giants wide receivers are terrible, but when everyone knows you want to run the ball because you have arguably the best back in the league, play-action pass plays should be readily available. And yet, with Manning’s arm strength and accuracy declining rapidly, the Giants simply don’t scare defenses, allowing them to stack the box and still not get burned deep.
Manning’s stats in the first half as the Giants fell behind the Bills 21-7 speaks to how bad things have gone for him: 9-of-19, 74 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT. But for some reason, even with Eli playing like that, the Giants still didn’t pull the plug on Manning and put in rookie first-round pick Daniel Jones. So the question becomes, with Manning playing this poorly, and the Giants clearly not competing for anything, when will Jones unseat the starting spot from Manning? It has to happen eventually.
Most NFL teams make moves at QB during the bye week, to give everyone on the team time to adjust. But the Giants bye isn’t until Week 11, meaning in that case, Jones wouldn’t start until Week 12 and only have five games to develop for next year. Gonna be hard to call the dogs off until then if you’re Giants head coach Pat Shurmer. It might even been in Shurmer’s best interest to make a move. Remember, he’s in his second year, and after a 5-11 debut season, he’s gotta be able to point to something to keep his job moving forward. Progress at quarterback is probably his best route right now.
The Giants’ upcoming schedule doesn’t afford many great opportunities for Jones; the Bucs, Redskins, Vikings, and Patriots all have solid defenses. And really, you want the season to be completely over before you end the Eli era, which has been fruitful at times. In Week 7 at home, however, the Giants face the Arizona Cardinals followed by a game at the Lions. A move could happen before that depending on how Manning plays, but to me, that seems like a reasonable two-game stretch to get your feet wet before a tough home game against the Cowboys.
There’s never a perfect time to insert a rookie QB into the starting lineup, but the Giants will have to make a move sooner than later if Manning keeps playing the way he has. He’s not the only reason the Giants stink this year, but when you play the most important position in the biggest media market in the world, you’re also under the biggest microscope. Right now that microscope says it’s time to bench Manning and start Jones soon. Simple as that.