Giants' Pat Shurmur Doesn't Commit to Eli Manning amid Daniel Jones Competition

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2019

New York Giants quarterbacks Eli Manning (10) and Daniel Jones (8) warm up during an NFL football practice Monday, May 20, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

Eli Manning is expected to be the New York Giants' starting quarterback in 2019, but head coach Pat Shurmur declined to say so directly when speaking to reporters Tuesday.

"I think we're going to play the very best player," he said when asked if there was a quarterback competition between Manning and rookie Daniel Jones. "I know we're dancing around the words there. Eli is getting ready to have a great year, and Daniel is getting ready to play. We'll see what happens with it."

He added: "The players that give our team the best chance to win play. That's period. We've seen Eli do that for a very long time, so we'll see what happens as we go down the road."

It isn't hard to interpret from those comments that the Giants will have a quarterback competition this summer. Manning isn't guaranteed to be the starter, even if the Giants' ideal scenario is for Manning to start and have a solid season while they groom Jones as his replacement.

Manning, 38, did not play well in 2018. He finished with 4,299 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, completing 66 percent of his passes but averaging just 7.5 yards per attempt. He struggled when taking shots down the field, and his grade of 64.3 from Pro Football Focus was 31st among quarterbacks.

But despite his subpar play in recent years—and despite Shurmur's vague remarks Tuesday—the job is most likely Manning's to lose.

That said, most NFL coaches would put forth a far firmer answer on their starting quarterbacks than what Shurmur offered. In the NFC East, for example, there's no doubt Carson Wentz is the starter in Philadelphia, and Dak Prescott will lead the Dallas Cowboys.

Both of those teams made the playoffs a year ago. The Giants did not. And if either Manning or Jones doesn't definitively win the starting gig this summer, the Giants likely will repeat that fate.

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