EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning isn’t ready to hand over the job as the New York Giants’ starting quarterback.
With fans and many in the media calling for him to be benched with the Giants off to a second straight 1-7 start, the 37-year-old Manning insisted Monday he wants to play when New York takes the field against the 49ers in San Francisco on Nov. 12.
Before Manning spoke, Coach Pat Shurmur said the 15-year veteran remains his starting quarterback, but he will be evaluating everything during the upcoming bye week.
“I’ve always been a team player, and do kind of what I’m told,” Manning said. “I expect and want to be the starting quarterback until I’m told differently.”
To be honest, Shurmur doesn’t have many good options at quarterback.
Alex Tanney has played in one game in his three years in the league, appearing for Tennessee in 2015. Rookie Kyle Lauletta was a fourth-round draft pick out of Richmond. Neither has played a down this season.
Making a change would allow the Giants, who are 4-20 over the past 1½ seasons, a chance to evaluate Tanney and Lauletta in a regular-season game.
Former coach Ben McAdoo was in a similar position last season and gave veteran Geno Smith a start against Oakland when many felt Dave Webb, a third-round draft pick in 2017, would get a chance to show his stuff.
Manning was not only benched, but his streak of consecutive starts was snapped at 210.
The Giants lost the game and McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese were fired days later. Manning returned as the starting quarterback the following week.
Manning has hit 215 of 315 passes for 2,377 yards, a completion rate of 68 percent. The problem is the offense is not scoring in the red zone. Manning has eight touchdown passes, with most coming late in the fourth quarter.
“I think the answer just comes to execution,” Manning said. “We got good players. There’s some good football. There are some good plays. There’s some big plays, some explosive plays. There’s just some bad football as well. So, it’s just cleaning up the bad stuff.”
There is a lot to clean up.
The revamped offensive line has struggled. Manning, whose biggest weakness is his lack of mobility, has been sacked 31 times, with seven coming in the 20-13 loss to Washington on Sunday.
Despite the addition of Saquon Barkley, the running game is ranked among the bottom three. It gained 37 yards against the Redskins.
Manning said the offense won’t be changing the system in the bye week. The goal will be to figure out what is working well and what plays can be run either more or differently. The goal will be to keep the Giants in manageable situations and to avoid sacks.
“We’ve just got to find ways to be productive, whether you get the ball out quickly or more max protection, or just have a combination of the two, or move in the pocket,” Manning said. “Just things to try to get us out of those situations, because sacks are drive killers. We have playmakers. We got to get them the ball, and get it to them in a timely fashion, and let them make plays.”
Shurmur chose his words carefully talking about evaluating the quarterback position.
“Yeah, I think Eli is our quarterback; but I did say, and again, I know you’re all trying to tease a headline out,” Shurmur said. “At this point, Eli is our quarterback, and we are looking at all areas to improve. That’s where it’s at.”
The coach said Lauletta and Tanney have been taking snaps all season to be ready to play. He said he has not considered lifting Manning in any game this season.
NOTES: Right tackle Chad Wheeler hurt his right foot and ankle. He was in a walking boot Monday, but he hopes to be ready for the 49ers. … With the trading deadline on Tuesday, Shurmur said he will talk with general manager Dave Gettleman. New York traded cornerback Eli Apple and defensive tackle Damon Harrison last week.
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