Quarterback the talk of OTA No. 8

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Pat Shurmur today stated once again that Eli Manning is the Giants’ starting quarterback while continuing to reiterate that it is rookie Daniel Jones’ job to be prepared to play Week 1.

“Eli is getting ready to have a great year and Daniel is getting ready to play,” said the head coach. “You see what happens with it. We feel good about where Eli is. He is our starting quarterback and we have a young player that we think is going to be an outstanding player, getting himself ready to play.”

Asked how much he viewed Manning/Jones as an “open competition” entering training camp, the Giants’ second-year coach said, “We are playing around the words again. I’m not trying to be cryptic about it. Eli is getting ready to have an outstanding year and Daniel is getting ready to play. That is really about it.”

The Giants have two more full-squad practices before the veterans depart (the rookies will stay an additional week), but this was Shurmur’s last meeting with the media until training camp begins in late July.

Since Jones was drafted sixth overall in the NFL Draft in April, Shurmur has consistently said Manning is the starting quarterback, as he has been since 2004.

“Eli is getting ready to have an outstanding year and Daniel is getting ready to play,” Shurmur repeated when asked essentially the same question that elicited the first answer. “At least in my mind, that is very clear, but it doesn’t appear that it is because I am getting a lot of follow-ups to it.”

One such question was whether Shurmur could envision a scenario in which Jones is the Week 1 starter.

“You never know what is going to happen, but as I said, Eli is getting ready to play and so is Daniel,” Shurmur said. “Eli is the starter and this guy is getting ready to play.

“The players that give our team the best chance to win, play. Period. And you have seen Eli do that for a very long time, so we will see what happens as we go down the road.”

Jones will eventually drive the team, but whether that happens this year or some future season remains uncertain. What is much clearer is that Shurmur has been impressed with Jones’ springtime performance.

“I think he has had a really good offseason,” Shurmur said. “I think he has had a really, really productive offseason. He is on track with the goal to be ready to play day one. That is really what all the players need to be thinking. The quarterback stuff will be on the front burner for everyone. I get that. He is on track.”

Manning did not speak publicly today, so his next news conference in this setting will be in training camp. Jones did take questions from reporters, and it’s evident altering the plan of having him play behind Manning for an unspecified amount of time is not something he obsesses about.

“I don’t think that is my focus right now,” Jones said. “I think in this offseason, all of our focus is on just improving and being better than the day before. That is certainly my mindset. We are all trying to put ourselves in a position to succeed. My focus right now is to be better than the day I was before.

“As a rookie, a young guy coming in, I have so much to learn and plenty to focus on. Just kind of here in this moment in today’s practice and tomorrow’s practice. I definitely keep focused on that. Just improving day to day is my more immediate focus.”

Jones is pleased with his advancement, but realizes he has just taken his initial steps on a long journey to becoming a successful NFL quarterback.

“I think I made a considerable amount of progress since I have gotten here,” he said. “I should have. That is the way it is supposed to go. I still have a considerable amount to do but I am making progress every day and where I am is certainly better than where I started.

“I think all of our guys, when we go out to practice, we want to get ready to play. Everyone on the team’s goal is to be ready to play. If they are asked to play, to be ready to play. You know, I have a lot to learn. Coming in here, it has been a good offseason so far. I just have to keep taking the steps I am taking. The next step is training camp.”

When Shurmur will surely field the next round of questions about the Giants quarterbacks.

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