Every Giants fan knew at some point this season that the torch would be passed from Eli Manning to rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. The organization was trying to sell the fanbase on the ridiculous notion that somehow Manning could lead the Giants to another magic carpet ride Super Bowl run.
While this was a main assumption, it was highly criticized as the Giants have been abysmal for the last seven years since their last Super Bowl run. It has been pretty apparent to most league front office members, along with the fans, that Manning is done in the NFL. And that is not to say that Manning suddenly lost his game, rather, after having a Hall of Fame worthy career that included two of the best Super Bowl runs the league has ever seen, Manning went out with a boom.
However, after the first two weeks of the season it became blatantly obvious that Manning just doesn’t have it anymore. Fans wanted to see what Daniel Jones brings to the table after being selected sixth overall in the NFL draft this past April. The pick was under a chaotic amount of scrutiny with everyone doubting the Giants front office for selecting a quarterback who some scouts didn’t think was worthy of a first round pick. Additionally, the Giants passed on pass rusher Josh Allen, who fell right into their lap, with a glaring need at pass rush.
After week two they made it official, announcing that Jones will take charge of the offense in his rookie debut against Tampa Bay. No matter how displeased you are as a Giants fan with the front office’s questionable moves the past two years, we all waited anxiously to see what Daniel Jones is capable of. I think it is safe to say after Sunday's dazzling 18-point comeback in the second half led by Jones, that he is a franchise quarterback.
Maybe I’m overreacting because as a Giants fan, I haven’t had much joy the past couple of years. However, what we saw during Sunday's game is stuff that great quarterbacks just have. For example, Jones was taking an absolute beating Sunday from the Buccaneers' defensive line. Jones on multiple occasions stepped up in the pocket, took some big hits, and dropped some absolute dimes while taking said big hits.
In a league where rookie quarterbacks notoriously struggle as it is the hardest position to adapt to from college to the NFL, Jones made it look seamlessly easy, and overcame tremendous adversity on the road in his first start. Being able to throw for 340 yards and have four total touchdowns is a stat line that Aaron Rodgers usually puts up and we never see these types of statlines from rookie quarterbacks.
It was even more impressive to witness his ability to lead an 18 point comeback on the road, including a game winning drive where he ran in the game winning touchdown on 4th and 5th. To put that in perspective, Manning never came back from 18 points in his entire career.
Jones broke all sorts of Giants records and rookie quaterback records Sunday. He answered a lot of questions about his talent, and he converted a lot of non believers Sunday. For a guy who was relentlessly booed and made fun of after being drafted, this is the definition of a feel-good story.
Will Daniel Jones have his ups and downs? Absolutely. Adversity will always strike in the NFL. No one is free from it, not even the great ones like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. Will Jones be better than Manning? We don't know yet, but if Sunday was an indicator, it is a great start to a productive NFL career.