After Daniel Jones impressed many with his perfect touchdown drive in his first NFL series last Thursday, the hype surrounding the No. 6 overall pick reached an all-time high. The critics and naysayers took a backseat to those jumping on the bandwagon of Jones being Eli Manning's successor.
Now fans really want to see what Jones can do in a real game after seeing a glimpse of what he can do. But, for Giants co-owner John Mara, that day hopefully won't come this season.
He wants to see Eli Manning on the field at all times. And Jones on the bench.
"I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field," Mara told reporters after practice on Tuesday. "I mean, that would be in an ideal world you'd like to see that. But, at the end of the day, it's going to be a decision by the head coach as to when or if Daniel ends up playing this year."
So, John, let's get this straight: you'd be perfectly fine with Jones not seeing the field at all in his rookie season?
"I'd be very happy about that because it means we're having a great year and Eli's having a great year," he said.
Mara does have a point. He's tired of watching the Giants put together losing seasons, and if Manning is still under center, it would mean that the Giants are winning football games.
But, with Jones' expectation being the next franchise quarterback after Manning hangs up his cleats, getting as much NFL experience as possible is something many would love to see. Having him study film and watch Manning from the sideline is also good for the Duke product, however, we all know how much of a difference getting into a real game can make for a young quarterback.
Now Mara isn't knocking down Jones with these comments in any sense. In fact, he has liked what he's seen from Jones throughout training camp thus far.
"He's everything we thought he would be," Mara said about Jones, who went 5-for-5 for 67 yards and a touchdown against the Jets last week. "He's been terrific on the practice field, did a good job [Thursday night]. I think people need to temper their enthusiasm a little bit. It's one preseason game, one series. But so far, so good."
Mara also mentioned how well Manning has looked entering his 16th year in the NFL. He led a lone three-and-out drive against the Jets, but frankly, preseason games for Manning doesn't mean too much. Yes, it gets him back into the flow of things, but Pat Shurmur and the rest of the coaching staff knows what he can do when the games start to matter. It is only emphasized now because of Jones' presence.
The Giants are still confident Manning can lead this team to victories on Sunday, and hopefully, back to the playoffs. Mara liked what he saw from Manning last year, especially in the second half when the team began to gel more.
"I think he's played well when the protection has been there in front of him and when he has confidence in the protection. I thought the second half of last season he played much better. Our protection got a little bit better -- obviously Saquon [Barkley] was having a big year. So I think our offensive line is better this year than it has been."
Will that ideal world come to fruition in 2019 with Jones waiting until next season to get regular-season reps, and Manning leading the Giants back to their winning ways? Time will certainly tell, but Jones will no doubt have a headset on the sideline during the start of the season.
"Eli's our starting quarterback and will start the season," Mara said. "He's obviously been a great representative of our franchise for a lot of years and will continue to be. So we'll see how it all unfolds."