End of Eli Manning Era as Giants Head Coach Shurmur Hints at Quarterback Change

The Manning Era could be coming to a close after 16 years

By Scott Mandel, SportsReporters

Head Coach Pat Shurmur — September 16, 2019 

Opening Statement: Let me talk about the injuries. You saw Cody Latimer had a concussion. Sterling Shepard is improving from his concussion. (Kevin) Zeitler has a shoulder that he’s been dealing with. Then we just have some game soreness. Markus Golden got hit in the throat, I guess. That’s about all I have for that. I don’t really have much to add to what I talked about last night. There were areas in the game where all three sides played well. I also think there wasn’t enough consistent play. They were four-for-four in the red zone against us. We were one-for-one. We had other opportunities to score that we didn’t. We moved the ball well at times. We didn’t do well enough on third downs. There were some opportunities out there that we didn’t take full advantage of that you need to do against a good team. As we go along, you’re going to see that they’re a good team. They were a good defense. We knew that going into it. They played well on offense against us, and we got beat. We’re looking at all things moving forward, finishing up our evaluation of this game and then having talks as to, like we always do, what we’re going to do moving forward. With that, I’ll take your questions.

Q: You said you’re looking at all things moving forward. Does that include the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game?
A: We always do that. Obviously, Eli’s been our starter to this point. I’m not really ready to get into any of those conversations about any position.

Q: Do you mean conversations with us or conversations…
A: No, we’re going to talk about everything we’re doing moving forward. That’s fair at this point. We’re 0-2. There are areas where we have to get better. We’re going to address all areas and try to find ways to put a winning performance on the field.

Q: Is Eli (Manning) your starting quarterback this week?
A: He’s been our starter to this point. I don’t want to talk about anything else moving forward from that standpoint. Not ready to discuss that.

Q: That’s going to leave it open for debate.
A: I understand that. I do.

Q: Do you think Daniel’s (Jones) ready if he is named the starter?
A: I think anybody that we put in there, we put in there with the idea that they’re ready to go. What I find interesting, too, this is why I’m a digital minimalist, is you all quickly quit listening to me and you’re looking at your phones. I find that fascinating.

Q: What goes into that decision this week?
A: We’re looking at everything that we can do to get better. That’s really what we do every week. To this point, what we’ve done hasn’t been good enough.

Q: Your third downs have been bad. Is there any thought of when you have third and long, putting Daniel in so you have a greater option to, if the pass isn’t there, run?
A: Third and long is usually what you’re presented with are longer yardage situations where they can take away the deep throw, you check it down. You see that around the league. We just need to do a better job of making sure we’re not in those situations, number one. Then number two, everyone once in a while, you have to try to fit one in there. But your option of just putting a guy in there… the ability to run with the football in those pass rush type situations, typically the runs become scrambles where you drop back and throw. The quarterback run game is typically thought of and used more in shorter, third down situations or first and second down, typically. Red zone, situational ball. Not usually on third and long.

Q: What did you think of Janoris Jenkins’ comments after the game about the pass rush?
A: I don’t think that reflects him that well. We spoke today. I talked to him about how things that we say can be interpreted. He was referring to one play and not to anything in general. But I spoke to him and we discussed what should be said moving forward.

Q: Did you disagree with what he said?
A: I don’t like anybody making excuses for anything.

Q: What about just the frustration? Is it almost, I don’t want to say a good thing, but the fact that he showed he cares and he’s tired of losing?
A: Listen, we’re all disappointed that we lost. We can’t get frustrated. We obviously need to make sure we’re saying the right things all the time.

Q: Getting back to third downs real quick, you guys are 5-for-24 through the first two weeks offensively. Obviously, you can get better on first and second down, but how do you create more manageable third down situations and prolong drives?
A: Well, you’re sort of answering the question within your question. We have to be in more manageable ones. Those situations, we’ve had more longer yardage third downs than the law allows. We need to make sure we do a better job of making them more manageable. That’s where it starts. Then everybody needs to do their job. You have to protect well. We have to make sure we’re running crisp routes. Then we need to throw and catch.

Q: Would you agree that your offensive line is playing well enough, and that your running game is good enough that you should be scoring more points if the passing game were producing?
A: We’re producing yards in the passing game. The critical situations, obviously the third downs and then when we get closer, scoring… With regard to the offensive line, I think they’ve played much better than they did a year ago. There are still errors in there. We’re doing some things better in the run game than we did a year ago.  We’ve made improvements in some areas. Not good enough to win yet. I don’t want it to come out that way. But moving forward, we can build on that.

Q: You guys poured weeks of practices and training camp into Tae Davis with the ones, Antonio Hamilton somewhat with the ones. They went from starting Week 1 to zero snaps defensively. Is that you just decided to move on and go with the rookies? How do you go from starting to zero snaps?
A: Everybody gets reps in the offseason. Most of the guys that made it on our 53 (man roster) got reps at some point with the ones. Sometimes you get more reps with the ones in situations where a guy in front of you is injured. I wouldn’t look at that as being the reason. We felt like we wanted to make a couple changes. We wanted to put (DeAndre) Baker in there and dedicate him to playing at corner so that he can improve, and the same thing with Ryan (Connelly).

Q: How have you been handling Daniel’s reps?
A: Typical of every place I’ve been. He’ll get a couple reps, as you do a rack of plays with the ones, Daniel will get a couple of those.Q: Does 10 percent of the reps sound about right? 50 percent?
A: A lower percent, closer to 10 than to 50.

Q: So, similar to what you did with Alex Tanney as your number two last year?
A: Yes, very similar.

Q: When you look at Eli yesterday—the way he ran the offense, managed the team, utilized the players he had yesterday—where could he have improved in your mind?
A: I think those are internal discussions and things that we look to improve on moving forward. Everybody that played in the game—we’re all responsible for when we win and when we lose—and even when you win, you make mistakes. So, those are internal conversations so that we can make those corrections moving forward.

Q: You mentioned the designed run that Josh Allen scored a touchdown on yesterday–
A: That was a good play. Well designed and he did a nice job. They blocked it well—it’s typical of the play they were running with the running back, the G-sweep—they carved us out and got in.

Q: Around the league in this day in age, you see a lot of the time quarterbacks are scoring and getting first downs on designed runs. You don’t do that with your starting quarterback–
A: There are other teams—there’s a lot of teams that don’t run quarterback-structured runs. We could sit here and make a list of the ones that don’t. I think when you do that, and you have a quarterback that can do those things, I think that’s smart, I think that’s utilizing the talents of the player that you’re working with.

Q: Is it fair to say that—you don’t do that with Eli, no one has ever done that with Eli—whenever Daniel Jones gets his chance, that’s something his skill set would allow you to do?
A: He has a much better skill set to do those types of things than say Eli. Yes, that’s fair.

Q: When you say that you look at every position every week, when you’re looking at the quarterback position, how do you balance giving you the best chance to win this week versus maybe the future?
A: We’re always trying to do what we can to win this next game, and then behind the scenes, we’re always having those long-term discussions, but I think that’s the challenge each week—just doing what you can to win the next game. That’s really my focus as the coach, and certainly that’s what the players’ focus is.

Q: Is Ryan Connelly okay? It looked like he was shaken up on the touchdown.
A: Yeah, he’s not on my list. I don’t see him on there.

Q: Do you expect more from Jabrill Peppers than what he’s shown you through two weeks?
A: I think everybody needs to play a little better, and we’ve got to coach better, that’s all. Here’s the thing with Jabrill—I’m a big fan of his energy and his enthusiasm, his toughness, and I think he’s one of those guys, if there are mistakes in there, he’ll get them corrected and move on fast.

Q: When it comes to making changes at quarterback, is it more complicated because of the position? Is the discussion more complicated because of the personnel involved and who you’re dealing with, as far as Daniel and Eli, and (Alex) Tanney? 
A: I think anything that we choose to do, and when I say we have discussion amongst us as coaches, and then I certainly keep Dave (Gettleman) and John (Mara)—everybody upstairs sort of knows, okay moving forward this is how we plan to play the game—we have those conversations. It really, fundamentally, happens the same way.

Q: Both Dave and John said, “Pat’s going to make that decision.” Do you feel like you have the final say on who your quarterback is?
A: I think at this time of year when we’re talking about the team and moving forward, I’m right in the middle of all of it.

Q: Do you think not being definitive to us about this, and we’re not being definitive to the public right now—is that an edge of uncertainty that you want around this team?
A: Uncertainty about what?

Q: About not coming out and saying Eli is starting this week again. Is a little edge, a little uncertainty, good in the locker room?
A: Listen, I don’t want to be dishonest with anyone. Like I said, we’re evaluating everything moving forward, and I’m not ready to talk about all that right now.

Q: Have you talked about it with Eli?
A: Again, at this point we’ve had meetings, and they’re still finishing up their meetings.

Q: Is it fair to say that by drafting Daniel in the spring, you guys internally have already had most of the conversations leading up to the point at which a change would be made?
A: I wouldn’t say all conversations have happened, or haven’t happened. We’re very honest and open behind the scenes with everything that’s going on. I think I’ve tried to portray that with regard to the quarterbacks all along here.

Q: Is it fair to say that you will have made the decision by Wednesday when you get on the practice field, if you’re going to make a change?
A: Yeah, we’re moving forward, absolutely.

Q: Is Sterling Shepard clear from the protocol?
A:  I don’t know. It says here (on the injury report) “non-contact practice,” so yeah, he’s going through the steps, it appears like, in time to make it for this game. But again, they’re all different, the concussion things are different. Once you’re in the protocol, there’s a set standard that we follow, and obviously player safety is important. We don’t want to bring a guy back too soon.

Q: On draft night, you said it would be Eli’s job to keep Daniel off the field. How is he doing in that regard, in your opinion?
A: I think he’s doing a good job. I think we need to do more, all of us included, everybody, to win football games. That’s why when I say we’re doing what we have to do each week to put a team on the field that’s going to compete and win a football game, that falls on all of us. That’s the beauty, in my opinion, that’s the challenge, that’s what gets me going, the challenge each week to try and do that. We’ve all been around situations where you’ve had an outstanding team and there’s less you need to do each week. Then, we’ve all been faced with struggles as coaches to fight and scratch to do what you have to do in other ways, and so that’s the fun part for us behind the scenes, is to just kind of put that all together and then watch them do it on Sunday.

Q: Is Darius Slayton making progress?
A: He is. Let’s see what we say here about Slayton—he’ll be out there practicing this week, so we’ll see how much closer. We can revisit that.


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