The New York Giants head into the 2019 season with a major question at the quarterback position. Will rookie Daniel Jones earn any playing time?
The simple truth is 2019 will likely be Eli Manning’s final season — his contract is expiring and his physical attributes are degrading with father time. While the offensive line has been rebuilt and we will see more efficiency from the veteran, dishing out $20 million per season for a player that can’t close games with ease like he used to is too expensive.
Even if he returned on a lighter deal, Jones needs to begin developing at some point, and I can’t imagine the Giants sitting idly by while his rookie contract ages.
Therefore, by default, the organization will, probability wise, move on into a new era – one of youth.
However, there are scenarios where Jones earns playing time this upcoming season, potentially starting…
Here are 2 scenarios where the New York Giants rookie can start:
As you might have guessed, both instances include Manning and him failing, essentially. In the first scenario, Manning is playing poorly and Jones replaces him, taking over the starting role and getting his development started.
Last season, Eli relied heavily on Saquon Barkley to pick up the load and rack up yards. Barkley’s 7.9 yards per reception and 721 receiving yards helped the veteran passer exponentially. So much so, he accounted for 91 of Eli’s 380 completions. That’s a massive chunk, and it attests to his influence.
It can be viewed as a negative, though, as Manning struggled to move through his progressions due to the amount of pressure the offensive line allowed, but that’s his weakness. Manning doesn’t have the mobility to create time for himself or extend plays, and that’s a problem in the modern-day NFL.
Jones has the ability to utilize his legs when the pocket collapses, and his above-average athleticism will be a difference-maker, especially against division rivals that aren’t accustomed to the Giants having a passer with the ability to run.
In scenario two, Manning gets injured. History tells us this likely won’t occur, but anything is possible in the NFL (knock on wood). This would immediately thrust Daniel into the starting role. It’s not an ideal case for the rookie, but it’s a reality a lot of players face.
Now, I anticipate the Giants want to keep Jones on the sideline as much as possible so he can learn and soak in all the knowledge and preparation-oriented details Eli has to offer. It will give him the tools to succeed when he eventually does take over.
I don’t expect Jones to start any games in 2019, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him come in and play in garbage time.