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Coach Shurmur commits to Eli Manning vs. 49ers

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Pat Shurmur today confirmed that Eli Manning will start when the Giants play their first game in 15 days on Monday night against the 49ers in San Francisco.

It wasn’t long after Shurmur made his announcement that he was asked about what will happen in the seven games that follow Monday night.

“He is starting Monday,” Shurmur said. “You roll with it how you want, with the idea that he’s going to get us on a run here and there will be no decisions to be made. In other words, part of the conversation (with Manning) was, we trust you, we want to work with you, and we trust the fact that you’re going to get in there and help us win football games.”

At 1-7, the Giants have won far fewer games than they anticipated, which is why public and media speculation has been whether Manning would not start. The Giants are 27th in the NFL in scoring (18.6 points a game), and Manning has thrown eight touchdown passes in eight games.

Shurmur made it clear he expects more from Manning – and from everyone else.

“I spoke to Eli a couple times this weekend and I explained to Eli that he’s going to start Monday,” Shurmur said. “I also explained to Eli that everybody needs to play better and as we go through this, it’s important that we’re not ‘almost’ in these games. We do what we have to do to get it over the top and win football games. We’ll just take it from there. But I spoke to the team about that, and then I also spoke to Eli about that specifically.”

Asked why he talked specifically to Manning, Shurmur said, “Because it’s the quarterback. Those are the things as you move forward, part of what you do during the bye week is get back to basics, try to see what you did well and do more of that, see what you didn’t do well and try to minimize that. Some of that, we, as coaches, have to do the things that he does well, and we all need to just be better.”

Manning will next speak to the media on Thursday.

The coaches did a detailed evaluation over the bye week, and while some changes may occur, one of them wasn’t Shurmur’s conclusion about what the offense must do.

“It comes down to points,” he said. “When you look at it, if we score one more touchdown a game, then for the people that crunch numbers, that’s a good thing, and for the people that crunch numbers, that puts us in a position to win half those games we played. Scoring in the red zone is an important thing when we get down there, and there’s tactical things that we need to do better. Then there’s certainly things that players can do better. Those are the things you look at, you think of the situations in the games, the players you have in the games available, how you’re trying to get the ball to certain people, so you go back and revisit that and do it at a pace where it’s much slower than if you were getting ready to play a game.”

*Manning wasn’t the only quarterback whose status required an announcement from Shurmur today. The coach announced that rookie Kyle Lauletta will not be suspended because of his arrest last week on motor vehicle and disorderly conduct charges. Lauletta missed practice last Tuesday following his arrest.

“Not suspended, but we have internal consequences,” Shurmur said. “I released a statement that I’m just disappointed in the way that went down. I’ve spoken to him numerous times since the event, and we have internal ways of handling it, but it will not include a suspension.”

Lauletta was inactive for each of the team’s first eight games. But with the Giants struggling, it seemed possible the fourth-round draft choice might not just be in uniform soon, but get a chance to play.

Did the incident hurt Lauletta’s chances of playing?

“Well, I’m disappointed because I think especially with a quarterback, you’re looking at decision-making in all facets of a player’s life,” Shurmur said. “He’s back to work, that will take care of itself. We’ve kind of stated what we feel about that, but he’s back to work trying to get himself ready to play.”

Regarding last Tuesday, Shurmur said, “That day, he was in danger of being late … The whole event is disappointing. The whole event. I don’t think there’s anything about being late (previously), but the way I look at it, quarterbacks should be early.”

Lauletta today spoke about the incident publicly for the first time.

“First things first I just want to apologize to the Giants organization, all the coaches, my teammates, the fans, my family, especially my parents.” Lauletta said. “The incident that happened last week is a terrible representation of who I am and what I stand for. I do recognize that those cops have a very difficult job, an important job at that. I’ve seen that intersection when there are no officers and it’s very chaotic, so I respect those guys and I can’t say I’m sorry enough about what happened. But all I can do now is just move forward and try to prove myself by my actions and my work ethic. Just kind of come back to work and try to put this behind me and continue to be a great teammate and just try to continue to develop and be the best player I can be. That’s all I can control so that’s what I’m going to do and just move forward from it and focus on the 49ers this coming Monday.”

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