‘We be­lieve in Eli’

Gi­ants coach puts sup­port be­hind quar­ter­back.

The Times-Tribune - - SPORTS - BY TOM CANA­VAN

EAST RUTHER­FORD, N.J. — 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 record­wise,” 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.”


New York Gi­ants quar­ter­back Eli Man­ning (10) and team­mate Wayne Gall­man (22) re­act to a false-start call dur­ing the first half against the Philadel­phia Ea­gles on Thurs­day in East Ruther­ford, N.J.

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