The New York Giants could potentially have a very tough question on their hands this week. Do they insert rookie Daniel Jones back into the lineup or let longtime veteran Eli Manning have at least one more start?
Whether the question will need answering depends on Jones’ injured ankle. Is he 100 percent and ready to go? Or would it be better for him to let it rest longer?
Jones is the future of the franchise. For the outlook on that future to improve, Jones needs to get reps, not just in practice but in games. The season is already lost, but Jones could still get some valuable work in if he is healthy enough to play.
The injury occurred back in Week 13 during the loss to the Green Bay Packers. The team called it a high ankle sprain and said that it could take two-to-four weeks for Jones to recover. That means he could return this week or miss the remainder of the season.
Jones is out of the walking boot and resumed practice in a limited capacity last week. So it is not hard to imagine him getting cleared to play this week.
The experience would be beneficial to his development if he is ready to go. But the risk involved in playing on a tender ankle does not outweigh the reward. Do they want Jones to get better? Of course, but they also don’t want him to go down with a severe injury.
If he does and the injury is bad enough, that could mean one more season with Eli Manning. While the fans love their two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, they are ready for the future.
Besides, the fans got to see Manning play at home last week.
He didn’t play great, but he had some moments, and the team won. The fans gave him a nice send-off and essentially said goodbye. With his record as a starter back to .500 (117-117), maybe it is time for Manning to leave well enough alone.
The nostalgic fan inside all of us would love to see Manning finish the season and then ride off into the sunset. But Giants head coach Pat Shurmur doesn’t have the luxury of nostalgia. If he is going to do his job, he needs to look to the future of the team.
To that end, he needs to start Manning over Jones.
Jones got to start 10 games, which is about what he played in college. At this point, especially with the struggles he has had, including an eight-game losing streak, he may be mentally exhausted. We already know his ankle isn’t 100 percent, but the more significant issue in these last two games could easily be mental fatigue.
So, he might not even be in the mental space he needs to be in if he is going to benefit from two additional starts.
Yes, the send-off was great Sunday, but Manning has said he still wants to play. Since it may be better for the overall health and development of Jones to sit for these last two, why not let him?
Shurmur recognized the possibility last week that Manning could start the final two:
This is a rare opportunity where doing the right thing for a young player is indulging in a little nostalgia. Make it happen, Shurmur—let Eli play!