Eli Manning deserves to be benched, but Giants head coach Pat Shurmur knows he’s stuck right now.
During Thursday night’s 34-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning went 24-for-43 for 281 yards with an interception. The yardage looked nice, but Saquon Barkley accounted for nine catches and 99 yards to inflate it and Manning’s multi-season fade has reached a low point.
With a long week coming, ahead of a Week 7 Monday night game against the Atlanta Falcons, the timing might be right to consider quarterback change. But after saying he wasn’t worried about Manning right after Thursday night’s game, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur remained committed to the two-time Super Bowl MVP as the starting quarterback going forward, saying, “We believe in Eli.”
When asked about the prospect of rookie fourth-round pick Kyle Laulette seeing some playing time, Shurmur reiterated that a quarterback change is not being talked about yet.
“Yet” might be the keyword from Shurmur when asked more directly about Lauletta seeing the field at some point this season. But Lauletta and Alex Tanney have 14 NFL regular season pass attempts between them (all 14 from Tanney, in 2015). and Shurmur seems resigned to the idea Manning is his best option.
The Falcons enter Week 6 tied for 23rd in the league against the pass (277.2 yards per game), with 12 touchdown passes allowed over their last four and over 330 passing yards allowed in the first three of those. Injuries have sidelined both starting safeties, Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, as well as linebacker Deion Jones for the season, or maybe not quite in Jones’ case, and the Atlanta defense has suffered for it.
So Week 7 against the Falcons is a potential “get-right” opportunity for Manning. If he can’t put up a big game in that matchup or at least look more functional than he has independent of Barkley, then Shurmur will have to set aside his lingering belief in Manning and consider a change under center.