The best thing about the Giants this season is that every possible end result for the impending Eli Manning–Daniel Jones quarterback battle falls into at least one of two categories: hilarious and interesting. There’s almost no way this situation can go poorly for non-Giants fans. If Manning plays well and Jones is bad, it’ll be hilarious. If they’re both bad, it’ll be hilarious. If they’re both good, it’ll be a real, interesting quarterback controversy. And if Jones is good and Eli is bad, it’ll be hilarious and interesting.
A rookie quarterback playing well is always fun and exciting, and Jones’s success would come with a heaping serving of crow for the NFL blogging intelligentsia—including me. After so much doubting—and so, so many jokes—football fans would have to admit that, actually, Jones and Giants general manager David Gettleman are both actually good. Additionally, Eli would head into retirement by riding the pine. That would be kind of sad, but, let’s face it, also pretty funny.
We got a glimpse of this potential reality on Thursday night in the Giants’ first preseason game of the 2019 season, against the Jets. Manning started the game, but his only completion went for 3 yards and the Giants quickly went three-and-out.
On the following possession, Jones came in, and the New York offense came to life. Jones went a perfect 5-for-5 on his opening drive, including a laser on a quick out route to convert a third-and-long. He operated the offense in a way that prompts all the usual, tired quarterback clichés: He was calm, confident, and poised despite his receivers averaging just 1.4 yards of separation. Jones finished his drive with this beauty:
The Giants rookie racked up 67 passing yards with those five passes, none of which were more impressive than that perfectly lofted pass to Bennie Fowler in the back of the end zone. Please disregard that the Jet in coverage on that play was undrafted free-agent rookie Santos Ramirez—Daniel Jones is awesome now. Manning’s time as the Giants’ QB is surely limited. And it’s confirmed, this is hilarious:
Eli Manning looks THRILLED at the success that Daniel Jones had on his first drive pic.twitter.com/uVAhjQ9Mq5— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) August 8, 2019
Please also disregard the small sample size. What did Jones do on his next drive? you may wonder, knowing that any quarterback can look good for five dropbacks at a time. Before we got an answer to that question, a thunderstorm delayed the game, forcing the teams and fans to vacate the uncovered areas at MetLife Stadium. By the time the weather cleared and the teams resumed play, the Giants put in third-string quarterback Alex Tanney. For now, those five passes are the only reality for Daniel Jones, New York Giants quarterback. Based on that series, we can only conclude that he’ll quickly unseat Eli and win the 2019 NFL MVP. Canton, start getting that bust ready.