When the Giants next take the field, Eli Manning will be their starting quarterback.
For many years, that was never in question. Lately, though, it’s become less certain. Coming off a humiliating 34-13 loss to the Eagles on Thursday night that dropped the Giants to 1-5, and with a long weekend to consider other options before the Oct. 22 game in Atlanta, this might have been an opportunity to make a change at the position.
The last time the Giants played a Thursday game and had a few extra days off, they came back to work with such an adjustment.
After Manning and the Giants lost to the Redskins in Week 12 in 2017, Geno Smith started at quarterback against the Raiders 10 days later, ending Manning’s starting streak at 210 games.
Pat Shurmur, though, said Friday that any consideration about benching Manning will not be on the table this week.
“No,” he said. “We believe in Eli.”
The group that joins him appears to be dwindling.
Though there are other issues at play in the Giants’ disappointing season, Manning, once the face of the franchise, has become the face of the frustration. Many outside the organization — and, according to an ESPN report, a few inside — have seen enough of him and are ready to move on.
Manning, 37, is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, but his Giants have not had a winning record at this point in a season since 2012. The Giants have started 1-5 the past two seasons.
Manning undoubtedly hears the drumbeat for him to be replaced but said it doesn’t bother him. “Being 1-5 bothers me,” he said Friday.
As for his level of confidence, he said it is “always the same” and added,
“I know I can play better. I didn’t play well [Thursday] night. I have to make better decisions and get back to just doing my job, not trying to force things.”
If the Giants’ season continues its trajectory, though, the coaching staff may very well start plotting out soft landing spots to play quarterback Kyle Lauletta. The franchise is unlikely to make the same mistake it did last year, going an entire season without taking a look at their rookie quarterback in a game.
Lauletta has never been active for a game — Alex Tanney is the game-day backup — but Shurmur said the Giants are spending time in practices getting Lauletta up to speed.
“Because he’s not active on game day, naturally it feels like he’s third, but during the week he gets as many reps as Alex does,” Shurmur said. “We’re developing him behind the scenes just like we do with any rookie. Aside from putting him in the game, he’s getting all the work that he can get.”
“Eli is the guy,” Lauletta said, noting that the calls for him to play “doesn’t really change anything I do.”
At some point, Shurmur might have to increase Lauletta’s workload. The Giants have a bye in Week 9 after their next two games. If the Giants are 1-7, it could be another opportunity to make a switch.
Right now, though, it’s not something Shurmur is entertaining.
“Listen,” he said, “we’re not talking about a quarterback change here.”
That doesn’t mean the conversation isn’t happening without him.
Notes & quotes: Shurmur said he understood that Odell Beckham Jr. was trying to get himself fired up when he head-butted a cooling fan on the Giants’ sideline during Thursday night’s game, but he would rather see Beckham find other ways to do so. “I wouldn’t try to give myself a headache to fire myself up,” Shurmur said on Friday. He also said that Beckham — and others — need to remember that all of their actions and words are carefully scrutinized. “I think it’s important that all players in all situations keep their composure,” he said. “Is that what I would have done? Absolutely not. Is that what I want my player doing? No.” . . . Former first-round pick Ereck Flowers, waived by the Giants this week, was signed by the Jaguars. The move reunites him with his first Giants head coach, Tom Coughlin — now the Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations — as well as his first position coach in the NFL, Pat Flaherty.