The New York Giants may be going back to their veteran quarterback after all, but not because they don’t believe in rookie Daniel Jones.
Giants coach Pat Shurmur said Wednesday morning Eli Manning will ‘very likely’ start Monday night against the Philadelphia Eagles with Jones in a walking boot and ailing from a moderate high-ankle sprain. Manning was benched heading into Week 3’s road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, seemingly ending his run of nearly 15 years as the starting quarterback.
The second-year Giants coach compared Jones’ injury to a similar sprain that star running back Saquon Barkley suffered earlier this season but slightly less severe, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. Barkley missed three games with his injury.
Jones won his first two starts of the season for the Giants, defeating both the Bucs and Washington Redskins, but has been up and down as the team has since lost eight straight games. Jones was picked off three times in last week’s 31-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
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Daniel Jones Had Bad Landing After Preston Smith Hit
By now, plenty of people have seen the slowed-down footage of Packers pass-rusher Preston Smith colliding with Jones and knocking the “Y” in “NY” off of his helmet during Sunday’s game in East Rutherford, N.J. But what some might have missed is how Smith and his 265-pound build inadvertently landed on the rookie quarterback’s ankle at the end of the play.
Shurmur brought up Jones’ injury without prompt when speaking with reporters in the postgame but dismissed it quickly, saying the Giants checked him out, taped him up and put him back into the game.
“Tough guy,” Shurmur said. “He fought through it.”
With Manning not officially deemed the starter just yet, there could be a chance Jones will fight through it once again in time for Monday night’s game against their NFC East rival.
Jones, who was the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, hasn’t been stellar passing for 2,374 yards with 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has also been prone to fumbles with 15 total on the season, including a four-game stretch of at least two per game.
Does Eli Manning Have a Chance to Win Back his Job?
The minority of Giants fans who haven’t been sold on Jones could be longing to see Manning return as the team’s offensive centerpiece, but the chances are Manning changing hearts and minds inside the franchise are slim. In all and reasonable likelihood, Jones will have his job waiting there for him when he returns, if he missed any time at all.
Still, Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP and the winner of the 2016 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award with 15 previous seasons of experience to back him up. He may not have been spectacular during his only two performances this season with two touchdowns and two interceptions in a pair of losses, but there are far worse backup situations around the league.
With four games remaining and the Giants deep out of playoff contention, Manning stands no chance of changing the course of their miserable season. A win against the struggling Eagles would certainly be a step in the right direction for the two-win Giants, but there isn’t much room for a greater impact even if Manning, in the unlikeliest of events, plays the rest of the year and runs the table.