Giants Name Daniel Jones Starting QB, Bench Eli Manning

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By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York

The Daniel Jones era is now underway.

The Giants on Tuesday named the rookie their starting quarterback. He'll make his first start Sunday at Tampa Bay, replacing two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.

The switch comes after the Giants began their season 0-2 for the sixth time in the last seven years. 

"Ultimately, this is a move that I felt was best for this team at this time," coach Pat Shurmur said. "I have said it since I got here, I am very fond of Eli -- his work ethic, his preparation, his football intelligence. All those attributes are as good as I have ever seen in a player.

Daniel JonesDavid Kohl/USA TODAY Images

"This move is more about Daniel moving forward than about Eli."

Shurmur hinted at a possible QB change Monday when he declined to commit to Manning starting in Week 3.

Manning is 56-of-89 (62.9%) for 556 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a lost fumble this year. Both of his interceptions came during Sunday's 28-14 home loss to the Bills. The Giants have scored just 31 points through their first two games.

Jones was a controversial pick in the draft, with many believing the Giants reached for him at sixth overall. But he quieted his critics with a strong preseason -- going 29-of-34 for 416 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. His 137.2 quarterback rating led the league.

The former Duke quarterback was inserted late into the Giants' season-opening loss to the Cowboys, completing 3 of 4 passes for 17 yards before losing a fumble.

"Eli and I spoke this morning," Shurmur said. "I told him that we are making a change and going with Daniel as the starter. I also talked to Daniel. Eli was obviously disappointed, as you would expect, but he said he would be what he has always been, a good teammate, and continue to prepare to help this team win games. Daniel understands the challenge at hand, and he will be ready to play on Sunday."

Barring injury, Jones' promotion likely closes the chapter of Manning's 15-year run as the Giants' starting quarterback. He is a hero in New York after leading Big Blue to Super Bowl wins following the 2007 and 2011 seasons, both against the Patriots. His icon status was evident two years ago when then-coach Ben McAdoo benched Manning in favor of Geno Smith, fueling much fan outrage. A week later, McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese were out of work, and Manning was back in the starting lineup.

The differences this time are that Manning is two years older, the Giants, who last reached the playoffs in 2016, are farther removed from winning, and the team had a promising successor, not a failed retread, waiting in the wings.

The Giants' decision to bring Manning back this season was perplexing considering they appeared to be in rebuilding mode otherwise. Since last season, they've parted ways with several key players, including wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., defensive end Olivier Vernon, safety Landon Collins and defensive tackle Damon Harrison. Now they have a young quarterback who can grow with running back Saquon Barkley, tight end Evan Engram and fellow first-round rookies on the defense Dexter Lawrence and DeAndre Baker.