If there was any question about who the Giants starting quarterback will be in 2019, coach Pat Shurmur appeared to answer those on Monday, and it basically comes down to this: The Giants quarterback of the future might be the same quarterback they have now.
Despite the fact that Eli Manning is turning 38 on Jan. 3, Shurmur made it clear this week that he has no plans to bench Manning in order to evaluate other quarterbacks on the roster, like Kyle Lauletta. When the Giants take the field against the Colts on Sunday, Manning will definitely be under center, although Shurmur didn't totally rule out the possibility of maybe giving Lauletta a few snaps at some point.
"We're going to do what we have to do this week and then we'll go from there. Eli playing quarterback, I think, gives us the best chance to win," Shurmur said, via quotes distributed by the team. "I think we're going to try to put the players in that are going to give us the best chance to win. And again, as we go along here, we're getting a lot of guys in the games. We'll see if that includes Kyle at some point."
Shurmur's commitment to Manning comes less than 24 hours after a game where the Giants got shut out at home, marking just the second time in 40 years that's happened. In a 17-0 loss to Tennessee, Manning threw for 229 yards along with an interception while playing in a torrential downpour.
The idea of benching Manning has definitely come up before, as everyone probably remembers. As a matter of fact, it was just over one year ago when the Giants made the shocking decision to bench Manning andfor the first time since 2004. The blowback from the decision was immediate and it ended with then-coach Ben McAdoo losing . Unlike McAdoo, Shurmur has been a staunch supporter of Manning, despite the quarterback's struggles this year.
Shurmur didn't mince his words when he was asked if he definitely wants Manning back in 2019, and a big reason he wants him on the roster is due to his experience.
"I want all our players to be back. I really do," Shurmur said. "I believe experience matters, I believe that what we're trying to learn to do -- we've grown two games better than we were a year ago here, we've got two more opportunities. When you start talking about roster-shaping down the road, you need to learn how to win again and the experience of playing through adversity."
After backing Manning, Shurmur was asked if he thought his soon-to-be 38-year-old quarterback still has multiple seasons left in the tank.
"Yes, I do," Shurmur said. "I've seen him play good football, and I've seen how when we have a coordinated effort of protecting him, running the football effectively, and being able to run the ball throughout the game, it helps us."
The way Shurmur describes it, it sounds like Manning is only a good quarterback when everything else on the offense is functioning perfectly, which rarely happens for any NFL team, let alone the Giants. Of course, one reason Shurmur might be backing Manning is because the Giants don't really have any other options right now. The incomingat quarterback, which might be why Shurmur is ready to stick it out with Manning for at least one more year. If Manning is the quarterback next year and the Giants don't get better, it won't be surprising if both Manning and Shurmur are gone after 2019.