Shurmur replaced Ben McAdoo, who became the first Giants head coach fired in the middle of a season since Bill Arnsparger in 1976. The Giants finished 3-13 in 2017, the NFC’s worst record. The 13 losses set a franchise record for losses in a season.
Part of Shurmur’s press conference was spent extoling the virtues of 37-year-old quarterback Eli Manning. Manning’s future with the team has been a hot button topic in light of the season he had in 2017. Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman believe Manning still has something left in the tank as does the team’s ownership.
“I believe, standing here this morning, that Eli is going to start the 2018 season as the Giants’ starting quarterback,” chairman and executive vice president Steve Tisch said.
“Obviously, it’s something that we wanted,” president and chief executive officer John Mara said. “One thing about Pat was that he was very positive about Eli in the interview. Certainly, that was a positive.”
Shurmur got to see Manning firsthand last summer at the Manning Passing Academy.
“I walked away saying he looked really, really good,” Shurmur said. “He looked fit, he was throwing the ball well, the ball had good velocity coming off his hand and, again, I think he’s got years left. How much? I don’t know, but I think he has time left and I look forward to working with him.”
Shurmur also said he spoke with Manning by phone this week.
“We certainly asked every candidate what they thought of Eli…Pat was strong about Eli,” Gettleman said. He also said “I still saw a quarterback that knew what he was doing, had plenty of arm talent and can win games” when watching film from last season.
Manning had 352 completions in 571 attempts for 3,468 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. He is under contract with the Giants through the 2019 season.
Despite Manning receiving a vote of confidence, this may not stop the Giants from selecting a quarterback in April’s NFL Draft. The Giants own the No. 2 pick. Manning told Gettleman he would be OK with the Giants selecting a quarterback.
“He’s a professional,” Mara said. “He’s a competitor. I don’t think that is going to faze him the least.”
Manning didn’t have one of his best seasons in 2017. One reason was losing the dynamic and mercurial Odell Beckham Jr. to a season-ending ankle injury. Beckham, who is already working out in preparation for the 2018 season, wants a new contract. He will play 2018 on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal. Beckham’s ability and playmaking are without question but his behavior has caused the team embarrassment.
Shumur said Beckham has a “clean slate” as far as he’s concerned. He wants sit down and have a conversation with Beckham before turning the page.
“I’ve watched him play and compete and, when you throw all the other stuff out and watch him on the field, he’s outstanding,” Shurmur said. “So, it makes sense to throw him the football. I’m just going to say that right away. If I didn’t acknowledge that, you definitely got the wrong guy up here.
“What happens now is I need to get to know him. I need to get to know what makes him tick. And I need to talk to him about what it is that we’re looking for from a guy that plays for the New York Giants.”
Beckham said he wants to be the NFL’s highest paid player last offseason. This was, of course, before his injury. Beckham will obviously need to prove he can still be one of the NFL’s elite wide receivers. Ownership contends they want Beckham to remain a Giant for life but didn’t want to get into it during Friday’s press conference.
“We will deal with that at the appropriate time. That is not necessarily now,” Mara said. “I’ve said before many times we want him to be a Giant. We’ll get something done at some point and time. I want first Pat to sit down and have him a good understanding about how we’re going to act going forward. I have a lot of confidence that will work out well, but we’ll see.”