Pat Shurmur Won't Bench Eli Manning, Says Saquon Barkley Pick Wasn't a Mistake

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2018

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 23: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants calls out a play as Saquon Barkley #26 looks on against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The New York Giants have limped to a 1-5 record, and one of the prevailing topics of discussion is whether they made the right decision in bypassing a rookie quarterback with the No. 2 pick, selecting running back Saquon Barkley and continuing to start beleaguered veteran Eli Manning.

Speaking with reporters Friday, head coach Pat Shurmur stuck by those decisions and offered Manning a vote of confidence:

Barkley has been superb, rushing for 438 yards and four touchdowns while adding 40 receptions for 373 yards and another two scores. He's been the focal point of New York's offense, and it's fair to say the offense—as currently constructed—would be in dire straits without him.

Part of the reason for that, however, is that Manning has been poor. While he's thrown for 1,662 yards and has completed 68.7 percent of his passes, he has just six touchdowns to go along with four interceptions. He's also been sacked 20 times and is only averaging 7.2 yards per attempt, 22nd among quarterbacks.

The Giants don't have proven options behind him with rookie Kyle Lauletta next on the depth chart. But as the Giants continue to struggle, Manning's leash may run short, much like it did last season under Ben McAdoo when he was benched for a game. That ultimately played a part in McAdoo's firing after 12 games, though given Manning's play this season, the decision looks justified.

Even if Shurmur doesn't agree.

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