There’s nothing mysterious about the quarterback issue facing the Giants now that 38-year-old starter Eli Manning has some competition in rookie first-round pick Daniel Jones.
“Every quarterback battle in history goes down like this,” Phil Simms, the Giants’ former Super Bowl winning quarterback, said Tuesday at a CBS preseason media event in Manhattan.
Here’s how it could play out.
“It’s Eli’s job, and he has it as long as he plays well enough and they win,” Simms said. “If they start losing, if he’s playing OK, that can be enough [for him to keep the job]. But if they’re losing, and he’s a little subpar, then we know what’s going to happen. As soon as they fall out of playoff contention, they’re going to play Daniel Jones.”
That last possibility might not be so bad, actually.
“If that happens with three games to go, that would be three great games for Daniel Jones,” Simms said. “A quarterback, when the year’s over, needs something to refer to from the previous year. There’s nothing that can replace experience on the field.”
Simms knows firsthand.
“When I was on the field early in my career, I could read coverage,” he said. “But in, say, my fifth year, if the safety was half a yard closer than he should have been, it was like a flaming red light. Oh, what a dummy. It’s gotta be a blitz. It really becomes that obvious. Body language, you can read everything. You get a flow of the game.”
Even if Manning does keep the starting job through the entire season, Simms believes coach Pat Shurmur will find a way to get Jones in.
“Maybe if they just rotate him in there and hand the ball off and make [the opponent] think he’s going to keep it because he can run,” Simms said. “I just think somehow they’ll indoctrinate him into the team.”
Former Bengals, Jets and Cardinals quarterback Boomer Esiason, Simms’ CBS teammate and the host of WFAN’s weekday morning radio show, think it’s only a matter of time before Jones plays.
“I know we have a lot of fun [on the radio] and talk about the Kansas City model,” Esiason said, referring to Giants GM Dave Gettleman’s preference that the Giants follow the Chiefs’ model when rookie Patrick Mahomes backed up starter Alex Smith in his rookie season. “But the Giants aren’t as good as the Chiefs when Mahomes was drafted. I can see if Eli plays great and they go on to win a few games because the offense is improved. Maybe he stays longer than most people think. But if they get off to a bad start, who knows when that [change Jones) h appens?”