Giants ownership as well as GM Dave Gettleman and Coach Pat Shurmur stated that Eli Manning is the Giants starter:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – This was Pat Shurmur's day, but for the Giants, 2018 will again be an Eli Manning season.
All the principals who participated in Shurmur's formal introduction as the team's head coach made it clear that Manning will be the starting quarterback when the season begins in September.
"Obviously, it's something that we wanted," team president John Mara said. "One thing about Pat was that he was very positive about Eli in the interview. Certainly that was a positive."
Last summer, Shurmur visited the annual Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana, where his son, Kyle, a quarterback at Vanderbilt, was a participant.
"I watched Eli throw a little bit this summer, and I walked away saying he looked really, really good," Shurmur said. "He looked fit. He was throwing the ball well. The ball had good velocity coming off his hand. I think he's got years left. How much, I don't know. But I think he has time left, and I look forward to working with him."
All six coaching candidates interviewed by the Giants were asked for their opinion about Manning.
"Pat was strong about Eli," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "I hadn't really done enough film work by that point because of the running around that we were doing, but I had come to the same conclusion which I have come to (that Manning should start). That's a general interview question, how do you feel about him. I'm certainly not upset that he had a strong opinion on him. I was hoping he had a strong opinion on him and he did."
In 2017, Manning completed 352 of 571 passes (61.6%) for 3,468 yards, 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Shurmur has worked with and helped develop several outstanding NFL quarterbacks, including Nick Foles, who will start for Philadelphia in Super Bowl LII; Sam Bradford; and Case Keenum, who had the best season of his five-year career in leading the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship Game.
"I think Pat spoke for himself that certainly he is looking forward to working with Eli, he believes in Eli," Giants chairman Steve Tisch said. "The references he made to Eli's future are very optimistic and I think Pat and Eli, as they develop a relationship and get to know each other, it's going to be great. I believe standing here this morning that Eli is going to start the 2018 season as the Giants starting quarterback."
"I've watched Eli's first eight years, nine years of his career (when he was the Giants' pro personnel director)," Gettleman said. "And watching the games (last season), going through them chronologically, I still saw a quarterback that knew what he was doing, had plenty of arm talent and can win games."
Manning has started 214 of the Giants' last 215 games (plus 12 postseason games), dating back to his rookie season in 2004. His streak of 210 consecutive starts ended when Geno Smith started at Oakland on Dec. 3. That was Ben McAdoo's last game as the Giants head coach. When Steve Spagnuolo was named interim coach the day following the loss to the Raiders, he returned Manning to the starting lineup.
McAdoo and the team's hierarchy said at the time that in the midst of a losing season they wanted to look at both Smith and rookie Davis Webb (who did not take a regular-season snap). Mara still believed that Manning was the Giants' quarterback.
"I've always had that feeling," Mara said. "At the point where our season was (2-9 entering the Oakland game), it made sense to at least see what we had in the other two guys. I want to forget about that, so stop bringing it up. It was something that was mishandled and I've taken responsibility for that. It falls on my shoulders. I wish we would've gotten a little more of a look at Davis Webb, but we have the opportunity to do that now."
The Giants own the second overall selection in the NFL Draft, so they could well add another marquee quarterback. And that's fine with Manning, who has always offered constant assistance to the team's backups and younger quarterbacks.
"He said that to Dave," Mara said. "I didn't have that discussion. That was part of the discussion that Dave had with him, yes. He'd be okay with that. He's a competitor and a professional. I don't think that's going to faze him in the least."
Manning could enter his 15th season with two young and talented quarterbacks who would love to assume his job. Yet he seems more secure than he's ever been.
"I don't think that's an unfair statement," Mara said. "I think both Dave and Pat are very positive about him, and that's important."
"I think bringing Pat in as the head coach is going to turn around a lot of things, and Pat's experience with quarterbacks is invaluable," Tisch said. "I know that Eli is very excited and very optimistic to start working with Pat, and certainly Pat is very optimistic about spending time with Eli and being a head coach. With Pat's experience with quarterbacks, it's got to make Eli very excited, and I think Eli looks at new leadership and his role in it is going to be terrific."