Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan met with the media at minicamp in June and answered about 15 minutes worth of questions about his group. Not one of those questions was about his starting quarterback.
“Don’t think I don’t appreciate that,” Sullivan said when the peculiarity was noted to him.
The Giants appreciate it, too. That’s why they extended Manning last offseason and why this team essentially is built around him. He’ll be 36 years old when this regular season ends, but he has shown no signs of having age creep up on his statistics or his well-being.
“I’m not slowing down,” Manning said, “and I’ve probably gotten smarter and better at understanding what I need to do to last the season and stay healthy.”
Behind Manning is Ryan Nassib, who has met every expectation the Giants had for him when he was drafted (you may recall that general manager Jerry Reese made the pick and then said he hoped Nassib would never have to play). In three seasons, he has appeared in mop-duty just five times, completing 9 of 10 passes for 128 yards, a TD and no interceptions.
This is the last year of Nassib’s rookie contract, so it will be interesting to see what kind of a market he can generate next year if he spends another season behind the break-only-in-case-of-emergency glass pane. The Giants could also trade him to a quarterback-hungry team, which has always been an option, but they seem content having him as the backup. Interestingly enough, while Sullivan was not asked about his starting quarterback at minicamp, he was asked about Nassib.
“Very smart, very conscientious,” Sullivan said. “There’s a tremendous relationship that he has with [Manning]. Those two guys work closely and Eli relies upon him, and he is improving with his decision-making. There’s a component that he adds in terms of mobility, in terms of being able to extend some plays, so now it’s just a matter of him getting in a good rhythm. He has some different receivers he’s working with to be able to execute, but we feel very comfortable having Ryan and I’m glad that he’s here as our backup.”
The Giants made a change at their third quarterback spot after minicamp, waiving the unimpressive B.J. Daniels and claiming Logan Thomas. But barring a preseason injury it would be highly unlikely for the Giants to go into the regular season with three quarterbacks on their roster. Thomas’ playing time this preseason likely will be an audition for some other team whose coordinator gets peppered regularly with questions about the starting quarterback.