Hey, Giants: Just start Daniel Jones already
By not making a decision on his starting quarterback for Sunday’s game in Tampa, Pat Shurmur has made the decision. Daniel Jones needs to be the starting quarterback when the winless Giants play the well-rested Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
Shurmur opened the door to change on Monday less than 24 hours after the Giants dropped to 0-2 for sixth time in the last seven years.
A 28-14 loss to the Bills on Sunday afternoon has Shurmur evaluating all aspects of the Giants approach, which he should. But his indecision on whether Eli Manning will remain the starting quarterback has opened a door that cannot be closed.
“He’s been our starter to this point and I don’t want to talk about anything else moving forward from that standpoint,” Shurmur said. “I’m not ready to discuss that.”
The more Shurmur didn’t want to talk, the more it became clear Manning’s days are numbered if not over. At the very least, his status as the starter has been undermined. That’s why the franchise must move on to Jones.
“We’re looking at everything we can do to get better,” Shurmur said. “That’s what we do every week. To this point what we’ve done hasn’t been good enough.”
That kind of coach-speak might fly in a smaller market, but not in this city where the spotlight has been on the quarterback situation since Jones was drafted with the sixth pick as the heir apparent to the 38-year-old two-time Super Bowl MVP.
Though Jones was impressive during preseason, Shurmur has been steadfast in his proclamation Manning is the team’s starting quarterback. That never wavered until Monday, and Shurmur is smart enough to know any hint of change is going to be interpreted as big news to the media and frustrated fans.
“I understand that. I do,” he said.
Yet, Manning seemed caught off guard when told Shurmur left open the possibility of making a change at quarterback. Of course, Manning showed no emotion and stayed professional.
“I have to get ready to play a game,” he said. “Nothing changes.”
But it does. At the very least, it means if Manning does start in Tampa and the Giants lose again, a change will be expected. In essence Sunday, will be Manning’s last chance … if he gets that chance.
“We are 0-2 and we are looking for answers,” Manning said. “I get it.”
There is plenty not to like about the Giants offensive performance this season: fewer than 20 points in each of their first two games and just 5 of 23 in third-down conversations. Manning has played to a 78.7 quarterback rating, having completed 63 percent of his passes for 556 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Though he isn’t the lone reason the Giants are winless.
His receiving corps is without its top two talents in Sterling Shepard (concussion) and Golden Tate (suspension); and when Frank Gore has more rushing attempts (19 for 68 yards) than Saquon Barkley (18 for 107 yards) there’s a problem.
The Giants defense hasn’t been helping Manning either, getting destroyed by the Cowboys and dominated in the red zone by the Bills.
“We’re going to address all areas and try to find ways to put a winning performance on the field,” Shurmur said.
Once Shurmur goes to Jones, then the Giants become his team for the remainder of the season, and Manning becomes a very expensive backup.
There can be no turning back. Shurmur made it clear on Monday the Giants are already thinking about making the move or why open the door?
The preference here would have to been to wait for at least four games before seriously entertaining making a switch. That would give Jones time to watch and learn from the sidelines and also give Manning a fair chance to make something of this season.
But Shurmur’s indecision has made the decision. Manning deserves better than being in limbo. It’s time to move forward with Jones as the starting quarterback.
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