Shurmur non-committal on starting Manning in Week 3

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  • By Adam Maya NFL.com
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The Giants might have a new starting quarterback this week in Tampa Bay.

Pressed on whether Eli Manning was still QB1, New York coach Pat Shurmur essentially told reporters Monday maybe, maybe not.

"He's been our starter to this point," Shurmur said. "I'm not ready to talk about that."

Not publicly, at least. Shurmur said he's still deciding on whether rookie Daniel Jones should get the starting nod over Manning. Jones, whom the Giants drafted with the No. 6 overall pick in April, completed 3 of 4 passes in mop-up duty against the Cowboys a week ago. He might be asked to do a lot more than that on Sunday against the Buccaneers.

"We're gonna talk about everything moving forward," Shurmur said. "I think that's fair at this point."

A quarterback switch, of course, would likely signify the end of the Manning era in the Big Apple. He's been the Giants' starter for all but one game since Week 10 of the 2004 season. (Manning was benched in Week 13 of the 2017 season by then-coach Ben McAdoo, only to reclaim his job the following week.)

Shurmur, who took over in New York last year, has intimated for months that a changing of the guard in 2019 was possible. General manager Dave Gettleman and co-owner John Mara have stated their preference for the rookie to redshirt behind Manning this season. But Jones' play in the preseason, spawning the nickname "Danny Dimes," likely expedited the inevitable change.

Shurmur didn't attempt to quell any controversy when told his latest non-committal to the 38-year-old Manning would lead to speculation.

"I understand," he said. "... To this point what we've done hasn't been good enough."

The 0-2 Giants have scored 31 points, which is tied for 26th in the NFL. Manning completed just 26 of 45 passes and threw two interceptions against the Bills this past Sunday. Moreover, Big Blue has won only eight of 34 games since the beginning of the 2017 season.

With his starting status now up in the air, Manning said he isn't seeking clarification from Shurmur and isn't motivated any more by the uncertainty of the situation.

"Motivation is to win. There's nothing more than that," Manning said. "You want to win because that's why you work hard, that's why you train, that's why you do everything and prepare and practice so you can go out there and win football games and build something special. So nothing changes."

Manning will always be celebrated for guiding the franchise to two Super Bowl victories. But he hasn't won a playoff game since the second one, more than seven years ago, while the Giants have just one postseason appearance over that stretch.

The book of Eli has become a tougher read the longer he's remained their starter.

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