These could be Pat Shurmur’s final hours as head coach of the New York Giants. The two players around whom the team’s future is built, no matter who the coach and general manager are, hope that isn’t the case.
Barkley was asked on Thursday if he believed in the head coach, and he offered an impassioned response.
”I don’t only believe in Pat Shurmur, but I do believe in all the coaches, I believe in everyone here,” Barkley said. “It’s easy to point the blame at one person, and that’s what we kind of do. I know this business is a results business, but at the end of the day, it’s not only on one person why we haven’t been successful these last few years. For me, I’m not willing to just give up on somebody. I believe that if we all just continue to fight and continue to fight, have that right mindset, which I do believe and I know that we have, things are going to turn around.”
Barkley said playing for Shurmur’s job is “not the mindset we have” going into Sunday’s season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“That’s not, I guess you could say not only for myself but for this team, we’re just going out — Coach (Shurmur) made it a point, we all made it a point that we want to finish the season off strong,” Barkley said. “The way we do that is by winning the last game, the last three games of the season. So, we have the opportunity to do that, and that’s the goal.”
Jones also supported the coach when asked if Shurmur should stay.
“I think obviously that’s a little above my pay grade, but I’ve really enjoyed working with Coach Shurmur and I think he’s done a whole lot for my development and my growth. Yeah, he’s been great for me,” Jones said.
Shurmur, of course, has a well-earned reputation for having worked successfully with a variety of quarterbacks throughout his career. The play of Jones as a rookie is perhaps the best argument anyone who wants Shurmur to remain as head coach can use.
“It’s (working with Shurmur) been huge for me since I’ve gotten here,” Jones said. “I think he’s a great coach. I think, particularly for a young quarterback, an opportunity to work with him, as he’s kind of installed his offense and how he sees it and how he’s coached me has been very important to my development, as well as Coach Shula. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to work with him.”
The belief at this point from both published reports and the people I have been in contact with is that co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch have not yet made decisions on the futures of Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman. Tisch is believed to want sweeping change, while Mara is believed to want to take less drastic steps.
Whether beating the Eagles on Sunday to end the season on a three-game winning streak and perhaps knock them out of the playoffs could be a determining factor is anyone’s guess.
Jones just hopes to finish the season on a high note.
“I think we’ve been optimistic. I think through the season we’ve played well at times. I think, overall, we’ve been inconsistent, but I think we have the pieces. We certainly have the ability to put together a game like we did Sunday (vs. the Washington Redskins) and to play even better than that,” Jones said. “I think we’re very optimistic going forward. The challenge is to continue to improve and I think a win Sunday would help us keep going in that direction.”
Barkley says “little things” tell him the team is pointed in a positive direction.
“I like the fact that even though we had a lot of adversity and the season’s not going our way, just how people come to work and how people handle themselves. Those are things that matter to me,” Barkley said. “It’s easy to give up, it’s easy to not care, but to still have that mindset and then to come out every single week and fight at a high level, even though some of those games didn’t turn out the way we’d like to, means a lot not only to me but to the team. So, that’s why I don’t just think, I know and I believe that we have it here and things will be better soon.”