EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants are standing behind quarterback Eli Manning despite the team’s 1-5 start and his early-season struggles.
Manning has six touchdown passes and six turnovers through six games. He struggled badly in a 34-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night, when he completed 24 of 43 passes for 281 yards and an interception. The Eagles sacked him four times.
A change at quarterback is still not on the table for the Giants, who will play a week from Monday on the road against the Atlanta Falcons.
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“I know I can play,” the 37-year-old said Thursday night. But Eli Manning was a shell of his two-time Super Bowl MVP self in the blowout loss to the Eagles.
OBJ enters locker room before halftime in big loss
Odell Beckham Jr. walked off the field and into the locker room before the final play of the first half in a 34-13 loss to the Eagles and did not return to the sideline until after the second-half kickoff.
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The combination of a Barkley highlight show and a Giants loss likely will be a familiar theme this season.
“No. We believe in Eli,” coach Pat Shurmur said Friday.
The Giants don’t have much experience behind their longtime starting quarterback. Alex Tanney has served as the backup the first six weeks, with rookie Kyle Lauletta inactive. Tanney has appeared in one career game. Lauletta is a fourth-round pick out of Richmond who has yet to suit up for a regular-season game.
Shurmur isn’t about to throw either of them into the mix this early in the season.
“Listen, we’re not talking about a quarterback change yet,” he said.
Manning’s struggles will only fuel the argument that the Giants should have drafted a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick. Instead, they selected running back Saquon Barkley, who had 130 yards rushing and 99 yards receiving against the Eagles. He has scored six of the Giants’ 11 offensive touchdowns this season, but it hasn’t led to victories or cured the Giants’ offensive woes.
The Giants haven’t flinched about their draft decision.
“The idea that Saquon Barkley was a mistake? I don’t see the logic in that, and I just told you that I believe in Eli,” Shurmur said.
Manning, 37, said he will take a few days off and return energized. He is committed to helping the Giants improve and believes there are still reasons to be optimistic despite being in last place in the NFC East and ranking 28th in the NFL with 19.5 points per game.
The two-time Super Bowl winner concedes he needs to do better and isn’t doubting himself.
“Confidence is always the same,” Manning said. “I know I can play better. I didn’t play well [Thursday] night. I have to make better decisions and just get back to doing my job, not trying to force things, find completions, move the ball and try to score more points.”
The pressure on Manning is building. His struggles were on full display Thursday night. The frustration from his wide receivers is palpable.
The veteran quarterback still insists he is not affected by the calls for his job from critics and their opinions that he is past his prime.
“It bugs me that we’re 1-5. What people say has never got to me or bothered me. But you work extremely hard and go have a big year and you’re excited about things. To be in this situation, yeah, it bothers you and it’s tough,” Manning said. “The only thing you can do is keep working, keep grinding, try to bring this team together.”