The team has underperformed severely with an NFC-worst 1-7 record leading up to last week’s bye. Head coach Pat Shurmur hasn’t committed to Manning starting beyond Monday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.
A bad outing against the 2-8 ‘Niners could mean the end of the Eli Manning Era after 15 seasons, two Super Bowls, 120 regular season and postseason victories, 35 game-winning drives, and 26 come-from-behind victories. He said he will not treat Monday night’s game any different from the other 223 (235 including postseason) starts of his career.
“We worry about this week,” Manning said after Thursday’s practice after being asked if he was worried about Shurmur handing the reins over to rookie Kyle Lauletta. “We have the 49ers. I have a job to do. I’m going to do it to the best of my availability.”
Speculation exists that Lauletta would have been named the Giants’ starter this week had he not been arrested for multiple charges on a traffic violation.
Shurmur threw down the proverbial gauntlet when he said Manning should take the decision of who the starting quarterback should be out of his hands by playing better football.
“He’s starting Monday. You guys roll with it how you want,” Shurmur said during the bye week. “With the idea that he is going to get us on a run here and there will be no decisions to be made. Part of the conversation was, ‘We trust you, we’re going to work with you, and we trust the fact you are going to get us in there and help us win football games’.”
The benching ended the second-longest consecutive start streak by a quarterback in NFL history. Manning stood on the sideline wearing a headset while Geno Smith led the Giants offense against the Oakland Raiders. Both McAdoo and Reese were fired after the 24-17 Giants loss. Manning was reinstalled as the team’s starter the following week.
No. 10 said he appreciates the way Shurmur has handled the situation after last season’s debacle.
“Communication is important,” Manning said. “We’ve always been good at that, been on the same page. It’s always helpful to know where everyone stands.”
While Manning said there’s no added pressure to keep his job going into Monday night’s game, he does admit there is a sense of urgency for the offense to get it going in the second half of the season. The Giants offense is ranked 22nd overall in yards (353.2 yards per game) and 27th in points (18.8 points per game).
“Get ready for the second half,” Manning said about Shurmur’s message to the team during the bye week. “Go play well. We need to improve. Everyone needs to improve. Get going. I feel like we’re close. We just have to score more points. There’s urgency to get things going, for sure. We have to get some wins. We have to get going. We want it. Team needs it for morale, for all of the hard work that we put in, the benefits of the work, and feel good about what we’re doing.”
Five of the Giants’ seven losses this season were by seven or fewer points. The Giants could very well be 3-5 or 4-4 had a couple of plays gone in their favor. Instead, they are on the outside looking in at an NFC East that no one seemingly wants to win.
Manning has 215 completions in 315 attempts for 2,377 yards, eight touchdowns, and six interceptions. His 68.3 completion percentage is the highest of his career.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.