This past offseason has been a tumultuous one for the New York Giants. They traded Odell Beckham, Jr. and drafted Daniel Jones to replace Eli Manning at quarterback eventually. While it’s not clear exactly when Jones will replace Manning, recent comments from Giants owner John Mara show that the organization hopes it takes awhile. The comments also proved that Mara needs to consider better word choices when discussing Jones.
Daniel Jones draft status
It’s been evident over the last few seasons that Manning’s play is in decline. Last season, the Giants elected not to select a quarterback with the second overall pick. They picked running back Saquon Barkley. After another poor season, the team decided to address the quarterback situation in the 2019 draft.
The Giants selected Jones with the sixth overall pick in the first round. The pick left many within the Giants’ fanbase scratching their heads. Jones wasn’t expected to go that early in the first round as he put up middling numbers at Duke.
After his selection, many wondered when Jones would play. The team did not cut Manning, so it appeared as though the team was moving forward with both quarterbacks on the roster. That’s when Mara was asked about the team’s quarterback situation.
John Mara’s comments about Jones
Manning has been the Giants’ quarterback since 2004, and it’s clear the organization holds him in high regard. When the team selected Jones, it was not to make him the starter immediately. It was to groom him while Manning continues to play.
Mara’s comments make that abundantly clear. Here’s what he had to say about the situation, captured by SI:
“I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field. That would be an ideal world,” Mara said. “You’d like to see that. Again, at the end of the day, it’s going to be a decision by the head coach as to when or if Daniel ends up playing this year.”
The intent of the comments is positive. Mara hopes Manning stays healthy and effective. However, they can also be misconstrued. Since the comments focus on Jones’ not seeing the field, one could read them as being negative towards Jones. A better framing for Mara’s thoughts would be: “We know Jones is going to have a long career, but right now we hope Eli plays well and gives Daniel time to learn and grow as a player.”
It also shows the owner’s preference, making head coach Pat Shurmur’s job more difficult. If Jones is the better option, it will be hard for Shurmur to play him against the owner’s expressed wishes.
But how exactly has Jones been playing?
How Daniel Jones has looked in the preseason
Making the situation more difficult for the owner, coach, and even Manning and Jones is how Jones has played in the preseason so far. He’s been great. In three starts, Jones has put up the following numbers:
- 25 completions on 30 attempts
- 83.3% completion percentage
- 369 yards passing
- Two touchdowns
- A quarterback rating of 140.1
Based on the quality of play, the NFL’s preseason is almost a different sport than its regular season. Jones hasn’t been facing top competition giving maximum effort. However, Jones playing this well in the preseason is a better sign than if he was playing poorly. It’s an encouraging sign and a step in the right direction.
The better Jones plays, the more pressure he puts on the Giants to bring him in. It’s hard to see Manning turning back the clock to his more effective playing days. While Jones will probably be better off getting more time to mature and learn the Giants’ system, the team may be better off with him in the lineup. If Manning starts the season playing poorly and the losses mount up, expect to see a change shortly.