By Lenn Robbins
We are as far away from knowing if the Dave Gettleman/Pat Shurmur partnership is going to restore the Giants to where it once was – one of the NFL’s most respected, professional franchises – as we are to the first snowfall (Apologies).
But August has been a very good month for the Giants.
From the Mara Family, to George Young, to Bill Parcells, to Tom Coughlin, the Giants set a standard on and off the field that every Big Blue fan could proudly wear. Even in seasons when a championship wasn’t won, the Giants walked with the Steelers, the Packers, and the 49ers among others, franchises that would have the late Aretha Franklin bellowing out, ‘Respect.’
And then the worm turned. Jerry Reese. Bob McAdoo. The utterly galling benching of Eli Manning. The ridiculous antics of Odell Beckham Jr.
It was enough to wear that LT jersey inside out.
Gettleman set the tone in late July at the start of training camp when the naysayers were in the midst of a blue-faced filibuster: Letting Landon Collins walk in free agency was ridiculous. Trading away Beckham was a travesty. The drafting of Daniel Jones was buffoonery.
Gettleman uttered these words:
“Give us some credit for the experience and our resumes…they’ve just gotta trust,” he implored fans.
Since then, it doesn’t seem so outlandish to trust this Gettleman/Shurmur ticket.
Jones, the player Gettleman has gambled his reputation on, has performed so efficiently and handled himself so admirably, it’s not folly to think he might develop into a QB for the ages. That’s the expectation when you a QB with the No.6 pick.
When Browns child quarterback Baker Mayfield called out Jones as being a loser at Duke in that GQ article, Jones responded like a man who just might find a home in the United Nations one day. (Assuming there is a United Nations).
“I wish we did win more games,” Jones told reporters. “I played a big part in that, so I take responsibility.’’
Take note: This is what accountability sounds like.
Jones then went out the next day and completed 9-of-11 passes for 141 yards in a 25-23 preseason win over the Bengals. Jones might not want these practice games to end. He’s completed 25-of-30 passes (83-percent) for 369 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Has he fumbled the ball a couple of times? Yep. Has he bounced back? You bet.
When your first-round QB draft choice plays this well, and your incumbent, Manning, is entering his 16th season, even a 14th street fortune teller can predict what’s coming: Who’s the starter?
Shurmur ended that folly immediately and unequivocally.
“I’ve said it all along: Eli is our starter, and we’re getting Daniel ready to play,” Shurmur told reporters. “I think he’s done a good job in the preseason. As I’ve mentioned all along, he’s getting better. And he’s going to continue to do that, so that at whatever time we need him to play, he’ll be ready.”
You can offer that as coach’s Exhibit A in how to diffuse a rookie/veteran quarterback controversy.
Look, everyone knows Jones will be the starter one day. It likely will be at some point this season.
But Shurmur didn’t throw in a “for now,” as in “Eli is our starter for now.” He didn’t say, “We feel good about both guys.” And thank goodness he didn’t utter the dreaded, “We’ll play whoever gives us the best chance to win.”
This all sounds exactly the way a professional franchise should operate. Yes, the Gettleman/Shurmur ticket did well in August. The real campaign, of course, is soon to begin.