Daniel Jones Eli Manning
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

With New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Shula’s belief in Daniel Jones, we might be in store for a quarterback competition.

Jason Leach

Eli Manning has dealt with almost every situation since the New York Giants made a blockbuster trade with the San Diego Chargers to acquire him on draft day 2004.

He’s had to deal with living up to the expectations of being Archie Manning’s son and Peyton Manning’s younger brother. He also had to deal with ridicule from many members of the media when, in the summer of 2011, he stated that he was an elite quarterback and deserves to be mentioned with Tom Brady. Eli would silence those critics months later when he defeated Brady in the Super Bowl for the second time in Super Bowl 46.

In recent years, he’s taken the brunt of the blame for the Giants missing the playoff six out of the last seven seasons since Super Bowl 46.

Through it all, Manning has handled every situation with dignity and class while establishing himself as an all-time great Giant and future Hall of Famer.

But as much as Manning has meant to the organization, the Giants front office took the first step in replacing Manning by taking Daniel Jones with the sixth pick in last month’s draft. This puts Manning in an unfamiliar situation of having his eventual successor on the same roster.

With Manning entering the final year of his contract where he’s due to make $23.2 million, the belief was he would be the starter for as long as the Giants were in contention.

But on Wednesday, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Shula was asked if he believes Jones has what it takes to be a day one starter.

“I think he’d be ready to go,” Shula said. “That’s my personal opinion. I would say this: times have changed. In the years past, whenever you draft a guy, even if it was that early, those guys would traditionally not play until their second or third year. But probably ever since six or seven years ago, you started seeing more guys playing early.

 

“But I think he has that capability. Obviously with any young guy, whether it is Daniel or whoever you have, I think you have to make sure that those guys, you find out what they can do best and get them on the field doing that to start with and then go from there. I think he’s got that capability.”

 

Shula is 100% correct when he mentioned that when quarterbacks are drafted as high as Jones was, they tend to play right away. Carson Wentz, Sam Darnold, Mitchell Trubisky, and Baker Mayfield are a few of the quarterbacks taken in the top five of the draft that saw significant playing time in their rookie season.

New York Giants

But despite the accuracy of Shula’s comments, you have to wonder if it was the wisest statement to make in this media market. Now, the question on everyone’s mind is, “Will Daniel Jones have a realistic chance of being the Week 1 starter?”

In all likelihood, Manning will be the Week 1 starter, and Shula’s comments will give Manning extra motivation to keep Jones on the sideline.

Even if Jones were to outplay Manning in training camp and the preseason, Manning will likely be the starter because nothing Jones sees in the preseason can replicate the speed of a regular season game. In addition, even at the age of 38, Manning gives the Giants the best chance to win.

While Manning was originally thought to be the definite starter, this may turn into an unexpected and intriguing position battle when training camp opens at the end of July.


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