Brian Vegliando was surprised when the news broke Tuesday that the Giants have named rookie first-round pick Daniel Jones their starting quarterback for Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay.
Vegliando, Wallkill’s football coach, thought the Giants would give two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning one or two more games to produce positive results after an 0-2 start.
“It's always tough to move on from a guy who has been with you for so long and done so much,” Vegliando said. “I'm a huge Eli supporter, winning two Super Bowls.
“Sometimes, it's time to move on. The pro game is so different when it comes to personnel and the contracts. The Giants feel like they have to make the move. They got to have some sort of positive story going forward for them.”
The younger generation of local Giants fans believe it’s the rookie's time. Jones impressed in the preseason, completing 85 percent of his passes, and the Giants didn’t draft Jones with the sixth pick to be Manning’s understudy.
“In the beginning of the year, I had a lot of faith (in Manning),” Pine Bush senior defensive back Jake Magsamen said. “I thought he was going to come out strong because they had someone behind him that they weren’t afraid to put in. He came out as the same Eli as the last three or four years.”
Magsamen hopes that Jones makes an immediate impact and history repeats itself.
“Daniel Jones is coming,” Magsamen said. “He can lead the Giants to the Super Bowl just like Eli Manning did when Kurt Warner came out.”
Minisink Valley junior lineman Adam Fenner remembers watching Manning lead the Giants to a Super Bowl XLVI win over the Patriots. Fenner said the switch was needed as Manning’s lack of mobility and loss of arm strength became apparent over the past few years.
“He definitely had a great career but you get to that point in your life where you can't move as well and can't get out of the pocket,” Fenner said. “You can't avoid the sacks. You can't make the better throws that he used to.
“(Jones) definitely has a lot of potential. He did great in preseason. He definitely performed like he could start. I feel like this will be a lot better for the team as a whole and should hopefully improve the team's energy.”
Was Manning’s benching a coach, management or collaborative decision? Only those inside the Giants front office truly know. Regardless, Liberty coach Joe Franke thinks the move is what’s best for the Giants’ present and future.
“Obviously benching a player with Eli’s history is a huge decision but (Giants head coach Pat) Shurmur is going with what he believes is right for the team and I respect that,” Franke said.