Pat Shurmur did not rule out a quarterback competition this summer between incumbent Eli Manning and rookie Daniel Jones for the starting job, but the Giants head coach did not promise one, either.
“I think we’re going to play the very best player,’’ Shurmur said Tuesday after the Giants’ organized team activity practice No. 8. “I know we’re dancing around the words there. But right now Eli’s getting ready to have a great year, Daniel’s getting ready to play. And you just see what happens with it.’’
Shurmur added, “We feel good where Eli is, he’s our starting quarterback, and we’ve got a young player that we think is going to be an outstanding player getting himself ready to play.’’
Ever since the Giants made Jones the No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Shurmur has heaped praise on the Eli lookalike from Duke, insisting Jones is doing everything he can to play the first week of the season. This does not mean the starting job is open, but Shurmur could have closed the door on any such innuendo or speculation by simply saying so. He did not.
Instead, Shurmur admitted, “I’m actually in a really good mood’’ as he engaged in and at times stirred up quarterback talk, alternating between stating what he said was obvious, while also seemingly delighting in saying anything definitive about Manning’s hold on the starting job.
“We’re playing around the words again,’’ Shurmur said in response to a question if this indeed is an open quarterback competition. “I’m not trying to be cryptic about it. It just is what I just said it is.’’
Reminded that Manning and Jones cannot play at the same time, Shurmur said, “Again, we’re playing around the words. I think everybody around the team is getting himself ready to play.
“Everybody understands there’s some uncontrolled situations that happen, injuries, right? Somebody just starts playing better than another. They understand that.’’
Manning, 38, obviously has a huge edge in experience but whenever this is brought up, Shurmur lauds the way Jones, 23, is picking up the offense in his new NFL surroundings.
“He’s had a really good offseason,’’ Shurmur said. “Really productive offseason. He’s on track with the goal of being ready to play Day 1. That’s really what all the players need to be thinking, the quarterback stuff will be kinda be on the front-burner for everybody moving forward, I get that. But he’s on track.’’
When the subject refused to die, Shurmur looked a bit incredulous but maintained his jovial mood.
“The players that give our team the best chance to win play,’’ he said. “That’s period. We’ve seen Eli do that for a very long time, so we’ll see what happens as we get down the road.’’
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