The real reasons why New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones shouldn’t start their Week 1 game in Dallas.
No, there isn’t any quarterback controversy for the New York Giants. It’s the statement that head coach Pat Shurmur is frustratedly repeating what seems like each week.
Regardless of rookie Daniel Jones‘s play this preseason—the great ball placement, professional poise in the pocket and smart decision making—this is Eli Manning‘s team and it’ll remain that way until the decision is made to alter the direction of an entire organization.
However, that decision won’t be made right now, and it won’t be made prior to the team’s Week 1 matchup against the Cowboys in Dallas. Jones will get his chance one day, but that day, hopefully, won’t happen this year.
And, again, it certainly shouldn’t be in a hostile environment such as Dallas. That type of environment is reason No. 1.
Imagine this: the Giants decide to keep their aging quarterback, who does still have some left in the tank, just to start a 22-year-old kid in Dallas. With those rowdy fans, the atmosphere you can only get in an NFL rivalry game, and Demarcus Lawrence running after him after he got around Nate Solder on the edge.
Imagine Jones, who just graduated from college a few months ago, having to deal with the lingering pressure both physically in the pocket and mentally from the rival fans.
The best chance to win in Week 1 would include Eli at the helm. The experience dealing with the pressure at AT&T Stadium in Texas is unmatched. No quarterback in the NFC East has the experience of going on the road in Dallas as Manning does.
From the final drive to defeat the Cowboys in September of 2009 to the fourth-quarter comeback in December of 2011, in which the Giants came back from 12 points down to defeat the NFC East rival in front of their own fans, history showcases an incredible road challenge.
The experience in this type of situation that Manning yields over Jones is incomparable. That, compared with the idiocy of throwing a 22-year-old kid into that type of setting, should give fans the knowledge that starting Jones Week 1 isn’t the right thing to do.
But fans will still call for Jones to start that initial matchup. Fans will still send out Tweets with #StartDanielJonesWeek1, which they’d regret if they actually saw Jones play in that game.
So, with that being said, let’s bring up the next reason, which includes the kid’s preseason stats.
- Game No. 1 against the New York Jets: 5-for-5, 67 yards, one touchdown.
- Game No. 2 against the Chicago Bears: 11-for-14, 161 yards, one touchdown.
- Game No. 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals: 9-for-11, 141 yards.
The stats are great, don’t get me wrong. Through three games, he’s spent enough time on the field to succumb just about one full game. If not, then pretty close to it. And in that full game, he’s combined to complete 25 of his 30 throws (83%), 369 yards and two touchdowns. He also has lost two fumbles that weren’t entirely his fault.
With the exception of the fumbles, those stats are nothing short of a solid performance from an NFL quarterback in one full game, especially for a rookie.
But think about the competition. The Jets defense, who ranked No. 25 in the NFL last year with 380.4 yards allowed-per-game, the Bears backups, and the Bengals defense which ranked No. 32 last year with 413.6 yards allowed-per-game, were the three squads.
In their Week 1 game, Jones would be facing a defense that ranked No. 7 last year with 329.2 yards allowed-per-game, No. 13 in passing defense with 234.7 yards allowed-per-game, and No. 5 in rushing defense with 94.6 rushing yards allowed-per-game.
This wouldn’t be like the Chicago backups. It would be Lawrence, Sean Lee, and Leighton Vander Esch. It would be the loud cheers and stadium sound effects when Jones goes down for a sack. The Giants believe he has great potential, but for any rookie quarterback, it’s hard to be in a situation such as this and find the tools to succeed.
It’s not as hard for a 16-year veteran. And that’s not the only reason Manning will start. Manning is the better quarterback at the moment as far as experience and knowledge of the position. He gives the Giants the absolute best chance for victory.
Enough with the calls to start Jones Week 1. Enough with the hashtags and the feeling that there’s a quarterback controversy brewing within this organization. Jones will sit on the bench for the time being and that includes the game in Dallas.
This is still Manning’s team, and it’ll continue to be that way for right now.