It all comes down to this for Eli Manning
Let’s cut through the niceties, semantics and rhetoric and refer to the Giants game at the 49ers Monday night for what it truly is: Eli Manning’s Last Stand.
Pat Shurmur said his piece Tuesday when the team reconvened after the bye week. He was direct and to the point with a touch of velvet hammer sprinkled in.
“He is starting Monday,” the Giants coach said when pressed about the length of the leash his struggling veteran quarterback is on.
The emphasis in that short sentence, of course, was “Monday.’’
“You roll with it how you want … with the idea that he is going to get us on a run here and there will be no decisions to be made,’’ Shurmur went on.
It’s Manning’s mission Monday night against the 2-7 49ers to leave Shurmur with no decision to be made by the time the Giants’ charter plane lands back in New Jersey sometime early Tuesday.
“You worry about this week,’’ Manning said Thursday in his first public comments since Shurmur’s decree. “We got the 49ers. I got a job to do, and I’m going to do it to the best of my ability. I just worry about going out there and try to get the win this time, and just handle our business.
“I think there’s urgency to get things going, for sure. We got to get some wins. We got to get going, and everybody wants it. The team needs it, for the morale and for just the hard work and everything we put in. [We] just need to reap the benefits of the work, and feel good about what we’re doing.’’
There hasn’t been much of anything to feel good about for the Giants this season — outside of the terrific performance of No. 1 pick Saquon Barkley. That goes for this season and for the future — mostly because the quarterback position is so much in question for the first time in more than 15 years.
Manning has thrown eight TD passes in eight games, which makes it no accident the Giants have lost seven of them. His TD percentage is ranked a ghastly 33rd in the league.
Only the Bills (eight) and Titans (13) have produced fewer offensive TDs than the Giants (14). The NFL average is 23. The Giants offense has looked lost at sea in the red zone, ranked 31st in the NFL with a 40 percent rate scoring touchdowns (10 TDs on 25 trips).
Asked Thursday what he “expects’’ out of Manning coming out of the bye week, Shurmur said, “What’s important is stick with the progressions, get the ball out on time, understand all the situational football. He’s done this at a high level for a very long time, and my conversation with him over the weekend is what coaches and quarterbacks do as you plot the course moving forward.
“He’s like everybody on the team: There’s areas where he can improve. We talked about that, and we’ll get ready to go and put all our efforts toward beating San Francisco.’’
If the Giants don’t beat San Francisco — and particularly if they lose with the offense continuing its lack of production — it’s going to be difficult for Shurmur to trot Manning back onto the MetLife Stadium field to play the Buccaneers the following Sunday without the natives becoming more restless with every three-and-out.
Could a ticket-burning ceremony and flyover — with an airplane pulling a banner complete with a pointed message — be far behind?
One factor to be considered for Shurmur, should he feel he must replace Manning with either rookie Kyle Lauletta or inexperienced journeyman Alex Tanney, is the Giants having a short week to prepare for Tampa Bay after the Monday night game.
But if Manning continues to struggle and the offense continues to move sideways, Shurmur might find himself conducting a fire drill of sorts getting one of the other quarterbacks ready in practice next week.
“I feel like we’re moving the ball well,’’ Manning said. “It’s just scoring more points in the red zone. I feel like we’ve made improvements between the first four games and the second four games, getting yards and moving the ball, and getting down there, and being a little bit more explosive. Now, we need to translate that into more touchdowns.’’
One of Bill Parcells’ most often-used mantras was that you judge a quarterback by how often he gets his team into the end zone.
That makes Monday against the 49ers at Levi Stadium judgment day for Manning.
Source: Read Full Article