In the immediate wake of the 2019 NFL Draft, perhaps no pick was more criticized than the New York Giants‘ selection of former Duke quarterback Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall. Not only was the pick generally perceived as a reach, but the Giants had also picked up incumbent starter Eli Manning’s roster bonus and thus guaranteed a portion of his salary for the coming season, and general manager Dave Gettleman stated after the draft that he could see Jones sitting behind Manning for as many as three years before getting into the lineup.
Jones has been working behind Manning during the offseason program, but when it came time to step on the field for the first time in real game action, the young QB stepped up. Jones played just one series, but he was 5 of 5 for 67 yards and a touchdown, which came on a perfectly placed throw to Bennie Fowler in back of the end zone.
Naturally, because nobody can ever take anything in stride, Giants coach Pat Shurmur was asked after the game what he thinks about the prospect of a quarterback controversy brewing between Manning and Jones. Let’s just say he shut it down pretty quickly.
“I think, ‘Slow your roll,'” Shurmur said. “This is just his first go around. I think he did a good job. As I mentioned, all along he has done nothing to disappoint us, and certainly when you take the team down the field and score a touchdown, that’s a good start. It’s something good to build on. We have a lot of time left before we start playing games. Nothing at this point has changed.”
Shurmur also mentioned that Jones made some mistakes that did not have to do with his passing, and that anyone not involved in the actual game plan may not have noticed.
“He didn’t motion the tight end across on the first play,” Shurmur said. “Those types of things. Things that we see. As I mentioned, to the naked eye, you possibly didn’t see.”
Perhaps that’s the case, and if Jones did make errors like that, they certainly need to be cleaned up. But we all know that a quarterback’s primary job is to deliver the ball on time and on target to the intended receiver. Manning has shown increasing signs over the past several seasons of not being able to do that job on a consistent enough basis to lead the team to victories, and if Jones continues to play well, he should get a shot to prove that he can. Manning is a nice option to have in case Jones needs some time to develop, but it’s clear this transition is going to happen at some point, and there’s no use in dragging it out just because that was the initial plan.