The Giants have told us Daniel Jones would be ready to play Week 1, and he is. He looks every bit as ready as Sam Darnold was last year at this time, only Darnold didn’t have Eli Manning standing in his way.
The question that should be asked now is this: How long will Manning be standing in his way?
“I’ve said it all along — Daniel, when it’s his time to play is gonna be ready,” coach Pat Shurmur said, “and we’re gonna continue to get him ready. We got a couple of weeks left before we play Dallas.”
Make of that what you will.
Here’s what I make of it: The Kid will be playing sooner rather than later.
On his way out of the locker room after Giants 25, Bengals 23, Manning was asked if he has been told that he will be the Week 1 starter.
“I haven’t been told any different,” he told The Post.
In his perfect world, John Mara would love for Manning to start every game this season.
Admirable True Blue loyalty.
“I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field,” Mara said recently.
Of course, what else was he supposed to say?
But ask yourself this: Why in the world would Mara want Daniel Jones never to see the field now?
Oughta be time to call an audible, Mr. Mara.
“So far, so good,” was all a smiling Mara would say on his way out the locker room door.
Shurmur played Jones, 25-for-30 for 369 yards and 2 TDs in preseason, three series with the starting offensive line after Manning directed a field-goal drive on the opening possession and it was on that third possession when you saw everything you needed to see.
You saw the kind of resilience from Daniel Jones that Bill Parcells always loved about Phil Simms, that Tom Coughlin always loved about Manning.
It was the kind of hit that Manning took over and over and over again in that violent 2011 NFC Championship game in San Francisco, and never flinched and kept getting up.
And so here came a Bengals defensive end named Carl Lawson steaming from the blindside around Nate Solder, and there went Jones faceplanted into the ground, and there went the football.
“I need to do a better job stepping up in the pocket,” Jones said.
Giants fans, who booed the night general manager Dave Gettleman made Jones the sixth pick of the NFL draft and who have taken to calling him Danny Dimes, held their breath.
“Yeah that’s probably the hardest I’ve been hit,” Jones said.
Jones got up. With a vengeance.
“He just reconfirmed in my mind that he’s tough,” Shurmur said.
It was third-and-16 at the Bengals 28, that he was going to make a statement.
From the shotgun, Jones stood in there without a hint of fear or anxiety and launched a back-shoulder throw that rookie Darius Slayton caught at the 1.
“The next-play mentality, I think, is part of the game,” Jones said.
No word whether it blew Baker Mayfield’s mind. No matter, Jones already had accepted Mayfield’s texted apology for his GQ comments about the Giants using the sixth pick on him.
“I told him it’s nothing to worry about,” Jones said.
Two plays later, Rod Smith was in the end zone, and here’s what Daniel Jones did first after he exulted:
He extended a congratulatory hand to Solder. Jones finished his night 9-for-11 for 141 yards, another night when he appeared poised and in command of the offense.
“He just has a feel for playing the position,” Shurmur said. “He’s steadily getting better every time he takes the field, whether it’s practice or games.”
Manning played one series and one series only for the third straight game and looked spry as a lead blocker when Wayne Gallman bounced a run to the left side. He is 9-for-13 for 86 yards for the summer.
Jones is the better, more accurate deep-ball and tight-window thrower. “He’s really smart and he’s a really accurate thrower of the ball,” Slayton said.
Jones has more mobility. He’s more athletic. He’s checking off one box after the next.
“He looks like a winner to me,” Saquon Barkley said.
Manning wasn’t brought back to be a $23.2 million backup. But inside his Big Blue heart, Mara must recognize that Manning better win — and win early — to keep Daniel Jones off the field. The Kid has to be blowing his mind too.
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