Eli Manning is getting benched again, and this time it feels like the move could be permanent.
Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones will make his first career start Sunday when the Giants travel to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers, the team announced Tuesday.
“Eli and I spoke this morning,” second-year coach Pat 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.”
The Giants are 0-2 this season, with Manning completing 56 of 89 passes for 556 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for a passer rating of 78.7.
Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, has started every game for the Giants since Week 10 of his rookie season in 2004, with one exception. That came in 2017, when then-coach Ben McAdoo benched Manning in favor of former New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith after a 2-9 start to the season. The Giants lost that game to the Oakland Raiders, McAdoo was fired days later, and interim coach Steve Spagnuolo quickly reinstated Manning as the team’s starter.
But this time seems different. The Giants drafted Jones with the sixth overall pick this year, making the former Duke standout the heir apparent at quarterback. During the preseason, Jones completed 29 of 34 passes for 416 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions and a quarterback rating of 137.2.
“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.”