EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Despite mounting losses and a first season quickly turning into a mess, Pat Shurmur is sticking with Eli Manning as the New York Giants quarterback.
Shurmur never hesitated Friday when asked if he was considering a change in the wake of a 34-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles that dropped New York to 1-5.
“We believe in Eli,” Shurmur said.
It was as simple as that. There will be no change to either veteran Alex Tanney or rookie Kyle Lauletta.
Shurmur acknowledged Manning made some mistakes in the loss Thursday night at MetLife Stadium, but so did a lot of other players.
When he was pressed about whether he would give Lauletta a chance to play if the season slipped away, Shurmur stopped the question.
“Listen, we’re not talking about a quarterback change,” Shurmur said.
Statistically, Manning has played well. He has hit 158 of 230 passes for 1,662 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. His nearly 69 percent completion percentage would be a career best.
The problem is the 37-year-old Manning is not mobile and that is hurting the offense. He rarely turns a potential sack into a scramble that results in a first down or a big pass play. He has been sacked 20 times. The Eagles took him down four times and had 13 other hits.
“My confidence is always the same,” Manning said. “I know I can play better than last night. I have to make better decisions and get back to doing my job, not trying to do anything more, forcing things. Just find completions, move the ball and try to score points.”
Manning is surprised the Giants have the same record at this point as a year ago, when they finished 3-13.
New general manager Dave Gettleman and Shurmur turned over more than half the roster, bringing in both talented players and standup guys who put the team first.
“We expected to go win games,” Manning said. “We’re not playing as well as we need to and we will work on fixing that.”
Manning said the past two seasons have been tough, winning just four of 22 games. However, he said this year feels nothing like 2017, where it was hard to be optimistic with injuries and internal turmoil.
“This year, you see it can get better,” Manning said. “We have good players. We have good character guys. Guys are working. I think there is a great opportunity for us to improve and win a bunch of football games. That’s what we believe.”
Many football analysts and writers said over the past 24 hours that Manning’s time as the Giants’ leader is coming to an end in his 15th season. Many were calling for a quarterback change.
“It bugs me that we are 1-5,” the two-time Super Bowl MVP said. “What people say has never gotten to me, never bothered me. You work extremely hard to go have a big year and you are excited about things. To be in this situation, yeah, it bothers you, but the only thing you can do is keep working, grinding and try to bring this team together.”
Manning and Shurmur both said the Giants need to execute better.
“We are certainly not where we want to be record-wise,” Shurmur said. “We will acknowledge that. But I do know this: This group of players will stay in there and keep working and fighting to win a game.”
The Giants don’t play again until traveling to Atlanta to face the Falcons on Oct 22. The players will be off the weekend and won’t practice until Tuesday.
“What is important is you try to reflect where you are at and where you want to go,” Shurmur said. “Right now, we’re not where we want to be record-wise, so I encouraged them to reflect on that and then try to think of ways they can get individually better.”
NOTES: WR Cody Latimer (hamstring) was the only injury of note Thursday night, Shurmur said. … Shurmur seemed to accept Odell Beckham Jr.’s explanation that he head-butted a cooling fan to psych himself up during the game. Still, he wants his players to be more composed. “Is that what I would have done? Absolutely not,” Shurmur said. “Is that what I want my players doing? No. That’s it.”
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