The Daniel Jones era has begun.
The New York Giants have named Jones, a rookie out of Duke, as the team’s starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.
This will be his first career start. Moving to the backup role is 38-year-old Eli Manning, the team’s longtime starter and two-time Super Bowl MVP.
The Giants have started the season 0-2, losing at Dallas the opening week and at home to Buffalo on Sunday.
“Eli and I spoke this morning,” Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said in a statement. “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.”
Selection was shocking in draft
Jones, 22, was the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft.
At Duke, he started all 36 games he played. He also:
- Completed 60% of his passes (764 of 1,275);
- Threw for 8,201 yards, 52 touchdowns and 29 interceptions;
- Had 406 rushing attempts for 1,323 yards and 17 touchdowns.
His rise up the NFL draft board shocked many at the time; the pick garnered boos at MetLife Stadium when it was announced. But Jones since has showed he was likely worth the high pick in the preseason. In those four games, he completed 29 of 34 passes for 416 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions to go with a 137.2 quarterback rating.
‘More about Daniel’ than Eli, coach says
Manning started 210 consecutive regular-season games from November 21, 2004, to November 23, 2017. Only Brett Favre (297) has had more consecutive starts by a quarterback in NFL history.
Despite the Giants averaging 420 yards per game, they have had just four touchdowns over two games. In them, Manning completed 56 of 89 passes for 556 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions for a passer rating of 78.7.
“Ultimately, this is a move that I felt was best for this team at this time,” 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. And Eli worked as hard as you could ask of anybody to get ready for this season. This move is more about Daniel moving forward than about Eli.”
Jones will join two other rookie quarterbacks who have logged at least one start this season: Kyler Murray, the first overall selection by the Arizona Cardinals, and Gardner Minshew II, a sixth-round selection by Jacksonville from Washington State, who has replaced the injured Nick Foles.