It looks like Eli Manning’s days of leading the Giants are over. The team announced it will give rookie quarterback Daniel Jones the start Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
I don’t know what to feel for Manning. On one hand, I feel bad for him because I know this couldn’t have been his decision, but on the other, I don’t have much sympathy because he hasn’t been producing and has given the organization plenty of reasons to move on.
That said, we can’t take the two championships away from him. But altogether, he held an 0-4 postseason record in years he didn’t hoist the Lombardi Trophy, and in the six seasons following the victory in Super Bowl XVLI, he led the Giants to the postseason once, and even then, they got bounced in the first round by the Green Bay Packers.
Things like that can’t happen if you want to be considered a great quarterback, and nothing was going to change this year, whether he started or not. In fact, it would’ve been worse this year, because with Odell Beckham Jr. gone, he wouldn’t have had that dynamic receiver he’s had for the better part of his career.
On top of this, Manning has a career regular season record of 117-117. That’s about as mediocre as it gets.
So what benefit would the Giants have if they stuck with Manning? None. Really, all it would do is sacrifice development time for the young guys to keep the veteran quarterback happy.
Let’s face it: he’s not an elite quarterback in the league. His brother, Peyton, was. Tom Brady is. Patrick Mahomes is. They all have the ability to get the best out of their teammates. It’s an unique skill, and I’m not sure if he has it.
I’m tempted to think that if he did embody this characteristic, we wouldn’t be able to question the player he is. I’m not implying that Jones does or doesn’t have it, but I am saying that this is what has kept Manning from being among the best.
And it looks like they have a quality few guys whom they can lean on and build around as they rebuild. Assuming that Jones is able to evolve into an NFL quarterback, they will have an offense that will grow together.
Jones has Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley to develop alongside, which could be a recipe for a good Giants team for a long time.