One of the biggest questions facing the New York Giants in the 2018 off-season is in regards to their quarterback situation. It’s a foreign question to the franchise, for whom Eli Manning has been the bedrock upon which they have been built for a decade and a half.
But with Manning nearing the end of his career, certain questions have to be asked.
General manager Dave Gettleman answered one of them earlier in the week by reaffirming that Manning would be the Giants’ starting quarterback in 2018.
“Obviously it’s something that we wanted,” John Mara said of Manning returning as the starter. “One thing about Pat was that he was very positive about Eli in the interview. Certainly that was a positive.”
If there is one relationship that defines an NFL franchise, it is the relationship between the head coach and quarterback. At the highest levels it is a relationship that is unique in sports — nowhere else is one man and one player tied so closely together and have such a profound effect on a team’s season.
When the coach and quarterback trust and understand each other implicitly, it just makes everything easier and run more smoothly. The ability to get the absolute most out of his quarterbacks is one of head coach Pat Shurmur’s trademarks. But that is really just a byproduct of having the coach and QB having a good relationship, being able to understand each other and communicate. And Shurmur is already anxious to start building that relationship with Eli Manning.
“Well, first off, I think the relationship is going to be very strong,” Shurmur said. “I’ve watched him, competed against him, admired how he’s played over the years. Got to spend some time with him this summer in the Manning Academy setting. I’ve already spoken to him on the phone and he’s an outstanding football player, and I can’t wait to get to work with him. I’ve admired the way he’s handled things. I sort of like a calm approach to the position. Looking forward to getting to work with him.”
With the Giants holding the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, they team will have to (at the very least) strongly consider selecting a quarterback who could potentially be Manning’s successor.
What is your evaluation, following up on the Eli questions, about where Eli is at in his career, how much he might have left, and how that would factor into what might be done with the second pick in the draft?
“Yeah, I think those are all questions for down the road,” Shurmur said. “I’m sure we’ll talk about that up until the draft.”
But while the new coach has to be concerned with setting the team up for success down the road, he also has to be concerned with winning in 2018 as well. And on that note, he didn’t sound concerned for the 37 year old Manning’s ability to play the game.
“You know,” he added, “I watched Eli throw a little bit this summer, and I walked away saying, ‘He looked really, really good.’ He looked fit. He was throwing the ball well. The ball had good velocity coming off his hand. And again, 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. With regard to who we’re going to draft, you know, I’m not ducking that question. I think that we’ve got to travel down that road of evaluation to see what happens there. But I think what’s important is we have a guy here that’s helped this organization win Super Bowls. He’s an outstanding player, and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”
Giants’ co-owner, Steve Tisch, was asked a similar question later in the press conference, and he expressed a similar confidence and excitement.
Tisch said, “Well, Pat said this morning, I think Pat spoke for himself that certainly he is looking forward to working with Eli, he believes in Eli. 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 today standing here this morning that Eli is going to start the 2018 season as the Giants starting quarterback.”