For the second straight week, Eli Manning was outplayed by the quarterback opposite him, and this time, it felt a whole lot worse. While there’s not much shame in losing in Dallas to Dak Prescott when he throws for over 400 yards and puts up a perfect 158.3 QB rating, Week 2 brought fewer chances for excuses. When the Giants are getting beaten by two possessions at home against Josh Allen and the Bills, it’s time to make some changes. Unsurprisingly, not long after New York fell 28-14 in Week 2—in a game where Eli Manning went 26-of-45 for just 250 yards, a TD and two picks—disgruntled fans began asking to see what the rookie QB and first-round pick Daniel Jones can do with this offense.
“I don’t think that’s a conversation for right now,” coach Pat Shurmur said after the game, prolonging the Eli Era but also giving the same quote every coach gives a few weeks before they actually ditch their QB. “I think everybody’s gotta play better.”
He’s right that everyone besides Saquon Barkley, who rushed over the century mark despite attracting the major share of defensive attention, needs to improve if the Giants don’t want yet another wasted season. There’s plenty of frustration on the defensive side, too, where cornerback Janoris Jenkins called out the pass rush in the postgame. And there are a few quarterbacks around the league who’ve looked worse than Manning, who at least became halfway alive and alert for one TD drive in the early fourth quarter, and in fairness was stuck throwing to the likes of Bennie Fowler and Evan Engram with most of his good receivers hurt, suspended, or in Cleveland.
But after starting 0-2 for the third year in a row—and the sixth time in seven years—the Giants’ stubborn insistence on starting a clearly ineffective 38-year-old Eli Manning is wearing thin. There are only so many seasons they can continue to stay in denial. And there’s only so many short, telegraphed passes on third down—where the Giants were 3-for-12 on Sunday—that a fan can take before wanting to check out the rookie.
The Giants are deluding themselves if they think they have any chance of putting together another winning season while Eli Manning is still their starting quarterback. The two-time Super Bowl winner has no passing weapons, no defense, and no time left in his career to work the kind of magic the Giants need to get carried to success. This is a rebuilding team, even if it refuses to acknowledge that fact, and while the Giants as currently constructed may not be an ideal situation into which to toss an inexperienced rookie QB, Jones deserves the reps and the confidence that comes with a sixth-overall draft pick. Anyway, whatever’s happening with the offense right now with Eli under center, it can’t get any worse.