EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said that changes are coming to his 1-7 team, but as far as whether one of those changes will be at quarterback, the head coach once again refused to tip his hand.
“ I will stick with what I said last night,” he said Monday. “I think we’re going to evaluate everything, from who the guy is and how he’s playing, and that’s just what we’ll do as we move forward. We certainly have not done things well enough and we’ve got to do things better. That’s what we’re looking at. Again, I wouldn’t change what I said last night.”
Still , that didn’t stop the questions from pouring in about Eli Manning, who has struggled behind an inconsistent offensive line so much that at times he’s looked skittish and as though he’s been playing not to get hurt.
Shurmur acknowledged that Manning hasn’t exactly had a lot of help around him—the offensive line has allowed 31 sacks this season through eight games, matching the 31 it allowed all of last year. Manning’s receivers have also, at times, dropped his passes or not gotten open on a consistent basis, while the running game, despite the presence of Saquon Barley, is trending downward.
But all that doesn’t mean that Manning is exempt from what ails the Giants offense, nor will he be exempt from the evaluation Shurmur, general manager Dave Gettleman and the rest of the coaching staff will be conducting.
“It’s important that everybody plays well, and everybody does what they can to help us win games, no matter the position,” Shurmur said when asked if making a change at quarterback required a little more organizational buy in.
“Eli is our quarterback, and we’ve got to do what we can to help him be better. There’s certainly a handful of plays each game where he needs to do better, and I think that’s pretty obvious when we all watch.”
Shurmur, who reminded reporters that both rookie Kyle Lauletta and veteran Alex Tanney have been working behind the scenes to get themselves ready for live action, refused to confirm if Manning will be the team’s starter when it next takes the field two weeks from today.
“We’ll see,” Shurmur said. “Yeah, I think Eli is our quarterback; but I did say, and again, I know you’re all trying to tease a headline out. At this point, Eli is our quarterback, and we are looking at all areas to improve.
“We’re trying to do what we can to win this season, and certainly you always do what you can in the short run. It’s hard not to look at things in the long run, but what’s important is we try to put an effort on the field to beat the 49ers.”
Manning, as he does every week, stood at his locker fielding questions about his post bye week future, never once batting an eye. The 37-year-old quarterback said he planned to take a little time away from the game before getting back down to work to self-scout his game and find ways to play better.
But he denied feeling helpless or frustrated over how the season has unfolded and pointed to the need for the team to execute.
“We got good players. There’s some good football. There are some good plays. There’s some big plays, some explosive plays. There’s just some bad football as well,” he said.
“It’s just trying to get on the same page with coaches, with players, and make sure we’re giving ourselves the best chance to be successful, and make sure we’re doing all the things possible that we can to play at a high level.”
Although Manning claims to tune out outside noise about his status, he probably can’t help but be aware of the growing rumbles calling for his removal as the starting quarterback.
While Manning, who has repeatedly stressed that he’d like to finish his career as a Giant, probably wouldn’t be happy if the coaching staff concluded that he was no longer the right man to lead the Giants offense, he said he wouldn’t fight it.
“I’ve always been a team player, and do kind of what I’m told,” Manning said. “I expect and want to be the starting quarterback until I’m told differently.”