“Eli and I spoke this morning,” Coach Pat Shurmur said, according to the team. “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.”
Shurmur had on Monday declined to say which man would be his starter, a sign that the end was likely coming for Manning, who will turn 39 in January — particularly with the Giants 0-2 for the third consecutive season and for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.
“Ultimately, this is a move that I felt was best for this team at this time,” Shurmur said Tuesday. “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.”
Manning has completed only 62.9 percent of his passes, is averaging only 6.2 yards per attempt and has compiled a 30.0 QBR in two Giants losses. In a loss Sunday to the Buffalo Bills, he threw his first two interceptions of the season and failed to complete a pass in the first quarter for just the third time in his career. Manning was asked Monday if he would be more motivated to improve based on Shurmur’s apparent no-confidence vote.
Jones completed 25 of 30 passes for 369 yards and two touchdowns during preseason, although he’ll have to navigate the same depleted corps of receivers as Manning. Golden Tate was suspended for the first four games of the season after violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Sterling Shepard missed Sunday’s game with a concussion, and Cody Latimer suffered a concussion Sunday.
Manning’s status as the starter has been threatened before. He was in the midst of a streak of 210 consecutive regular-season starts, second only to Brett Favre, when he was benched in ham-handed fashion by Ben McAdoo two years ago. The decision to go to Geno Smith flabbergasted New Yorkers, who were accustomed to seeing the city’s sports legends handled gently as their careers waned. Manning was left to stand before his locker, explaining that he was given the option of starting to preserve his consecutive-starts streak. The veteran declined, so he was replaced by Smith, a quarterback with 28 touchdown passes and 36 interceptions in 34 games. That experiment lasted all of one game. Manning has been the starter since.
Manning, the No. 1 draft pick by the San Diego Chargers in 2004, was traded to the Giants for their fourth overall pick, Philip Rivers. He became the starter in Week 11 of that season. He has started 232 of the Giants’ last 233 regular-season games; Sunday’s loss dropped his record as a starter to 116-116. But he has shined in the playoffs, with an 8-4 record as a postseason starter, including victories in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. Both times, he was named the game’s most valuable player, making him one of only five players with multiple Super Bowl MVP awards. (Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Bart Starr and Terry Bradshaw are the others.)
Of the 32 presumed NFL starting quarterbacks in Week 3, only four have won a Super Bowl: Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Joe Flacco.