The New York Giants will stick with their veteran quarterback Eli Manning for now. But it seems likely that his replacement will be waiting in the wings.
A cloud of uncertainty has surrounded Eli Manning since the end of the 2018 season. His leadership since 2004 has brought the New York Giants two Super Bowl rings, but they have won only eight games over the span of the last two years and found themselves at the bottom of the NFC East both times. As Manning approaches 40 years old, the Giants understand that they need to address the quarterback position.
Giants’ Head Coach Pat Shurmur acknowledged their situation with Eli Manning in a press conference on Wednesday. Speaking to the media about the upcoming NFL Combine, Shurmur made it clear that he still sees Manning as the starter.
“I think Eli can help us win games,” Shurmur said. “And he proved when we started — the players around him started playing better — that he can play at a high level and help us win games. At this point, I want Eli back. He’s back and he’s ready to go.”
Dave Gettleman, the Giants general manager, shared Shurmur’s sentiment when he spoke to reporters. “We looked at Eli and we feel good about it,” he said. “The narrative [around Manning] has been so negative, when you take that position, you have trouble getting off that spot. The narrative has been negative and I don’t think that’s fair.”
Even when acknowledging that some people might be putting too much blame on the Giants quarterback, given Manning’s age and recent records, there is no doubt that the position needs to be addressed beyond the 2019 season. Speaking to reporters, Dave Gettleman said “The Kansas City model worked well.” This refers to the year Alex Smith remained as a starter in Kansas City, with future starting quarterback Pat Mahomes as the backup, waiting in the wings, and suggests the Giants will likely have a young rookie behind Manning.
The top options for quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft include Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) and Drew Lock (Missouri). If one of them does land in the Big Apple, Shurmur thinks it would be good for them to learn from Manning.
“That’s going to be a great thing if that happens,” Shurmur said. “I’ve spoken frequently about what I think of Eli and how he handles himself, how he prepares, and, really, everything he does behind the scenes. And I think a young player would greatly benefit from that. We all want to learn from somebody that’s done it, players, coaches. He’s done it at a very high level, and so being in a room with him, I think, would only help that player.”