Giants can’t hesitate pulling the Daniel Jones trigger

The threat is real this time, it wears No. 8, and it shadows Eli Manning from the practice field to the quarterback room.

The handwriting isn’t only on the Big Blue wall, it is right behind him and it is alongside him every step of the way, and while the Future remains Now for Eli Manning, Now suddenly has an expiration date.

Pat Shurmur must get Daniel Jones on the field — when he is deemed ready, of course — and get him enough experience in 2019 so he can hit the ground running in 2020 and give the Giants their best chance for a better and brighter tomorrow. Just as Tom Coughlin got a rookie Eli Manning on the field for the final seven games when he took the ball away from caretaker Kurt Warner on Nov. 21, 2004.

If GM Dave Gettleman is right about Jones — and for the sake of the franchise he better be — Jones should be able to close the gap on Manning sooner rather than later.

Manning continues his noble fight against Father Time, but he can’t fight City Hall. And City Hall didn’t make Jones the sixth pick of the NFL draft to be a redshirt freshman, no matter what they may have told us about the Kansas City model.

Manning has one chance and one chance only for a gallant last stand that few believe a 38-year-old quarterback trapped in a rebuilding situation can make, and he recognizes as much.

“I understand the circumstances,” Manning said. “I need to play well, and need to play well early, and do my job.

“You want to do that and also be careful not to press and trying to do too much too soon when things aren’t there and force things into bad play,” Manning said. So hey, I gotta try to the best of my ability, make good decisions and lead this team to get wins.”

Jones is already getting the lion’s share of the backup reps, apparently is a quick enough study that offensive coordinator Mike Shula has proclaimed him capable of starting Week 1.

“He throws it well,” Manning said.

Week 1 would be really rushing it. There is no such thing as a $23.2 million backup in the NFL anyway. After much deliberation, Manning was brought back to start the season, to mentor Jones as only a gentleman like him can, even if it sometimes must be only by osmosis.

“In one way it helps me — if you can kinda teach it, then you know it,” Manning said.

Manning remains the good soldier that he has forever been and forever will be when the day comes when his dream job is no longer his.

The Jets drafted Richard Todd with the sixth pick of the 1976 draft prior to Joe Namath’s last season in New York. Both played at Alabama. There was no awkwardness there. There won’t be much here with Manning and Jones, Cutcliffe University grads.

“It’s not about being nervous or worried, it’s just about treating it the same as it’s been the last 15 years,” Manning said.

He is in splendid shape. Never mind the pass Sam Beal deflected that Jabrill Peppers intercepted. He will have a better offensive line and a second year in Shurmur’s offense, so there’s that. But Odell Beckham Jr. is in Cleveland. And the defense is a work in progress at best. For Eli Manning, the glass is always half full.

“Last two years, we played a decent number of games without [Beckham], and end of last year, played last four or five games, we were able to score points and do well,” Manning said. “We got a lot of playmakers still, and everybody’s just gotta do their job, make plays, win the one-on-one matchups, and we’ll be fine.”

Someone asked him how much longer he wants to play.

“I don’t know,” Manning said. “I haven’t thought about it. I want to play this year, and go from there.

“I don’t think I’ve ever put a time frame on how long. I think you’ll know when he’s time to stop based off the circumstances or how your body’s feeling.”

This will be the final year of his contract.

“I want to be in this position, I want to be the quarterback, I want to go win games and have a great year,” Manning said.

It’s impossible not to root for him. It’s also impossible for him not to see the future. A not-too-distant future with someone else playing quarterback for his New York Giants.

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