Pat Shurmur has tried to battle the swell of calls for Daniel Jones to be considered for the starting quarterback job this season. In the days since Jones went 5-for-5 with a touchdown pass in his preseason debut, the coach has urged those clamoring for the rookie to “slow your roll” and said “nothing has changed” about his plans for the position.
Nice try. But there’s really only one person who can hold back the rising Jones tide. And that person is Eli Manning.
On Sunday, Manning gave it a shot. The quarterback had his sharpest practice of the preseason, connecting on deep passes to Saquon Barkley and Cody Latimer, zipping some throws to Evan Engram and giving the crowd of fans who came to watch the workout a glimpse of what he might have left in him.
“You still got it, Eli!” one of the fans yelled after he dropped a beautiful deep pass into Latimer’s hands.
Manning completed his first nine passes in full-team drills on Sunday and finished 17-for-22. He took the majority of the snaps as he and Jones split all of the team reps (Shurmur ditched the third- and fourth-team snaps because of limited numbers available to practice).
Although the timing of Manning’s strong play on Sunday was interesting in that it followed several days of fawning and hyping his successor in the media, those on the team insisted the performance was not unique.
“Great ball, another great ball,” Latimer said of his catch. “I caught one of them last week, too . . . He’s putting the ball out there where only the receivers can get it. He looks sharp all the time, man. He’s focused and he’s doing what he has to do. I don’t think he’s worried about that.”
MRI for Baker
DeAndre Baker left the field early in Sunday’s practice after he “felt something” in his knee during individual warmups. The Giants sent the first-round cornerback for an MRI and said he will be evaluated further on Monday.
“Something with his knee,” Shurmur said. “We’re just checking it out.”
Baker is penciled in as a starting cornerback for the Giants this season after being selected with the 30th overall pick in the spring. The University of Georgia product was considered a top coverage cornerback coming out of college.
While there was no definitive diagnosis on Baker on Sunday, it can be very concerning whenever a player has a knee injury pop up during non-contact drills, as apparently happened to Baker.
Rookie Corey Ballentine, who had an interception with the backups in the second half of the preseason opener last week, filled in for Baker with the first defensive unit.