Uncertainty continues to be the buzzword regarding the identity of the Giants’ starting quarterback as they prepare to host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Daniel Jones’ sprained right ankle, which forced him to the inactive list Monday night in Philadelphia, continues to improve and he participated on a limited basis in the team’s jog-through today. He was joined by Eli Manning, who took every snap in the Giants’ 23-17 overtime loss to the Eagles and would again step in for Jones if the rookie can’t play.
Coach Pat Shurmur was asked when the team needs to know who will start.
“When the time is right,” he said. “The skill players have been interchanged so much that they’ve had a chance to work with both quarterbacks. It’s going to be the same type of game plan regardless of who’s playing. The sooner, the better. But all the way up to game time.”
That would give Jones the longest time frame in which to heal.
“If he’s healthy enough to play, then he’ll play,” Shurmur said. “It’s always medical. If he’s cleared, he’s cleared.”
Jones was hurt against Green Bay on Dec. 1. He has shed the walking boot he wore last week and continues to progress.
“I feel good,” Jones said. “I think I’ve gotten a lot better over the course of the last week. I’m taking it day to day, doing what they tell me I can do. I’m starting to move around a little bit more and it feels good. Keep trusting that process and like I said, try to get back out there as quickly as I can.”
Jones answered carefully when asked if he is “operating with the idea” that he might play Sunday.
“I think I’m trying to prepare to play,” Jones said. “Like I said, we are going to take it day to day. It will be evaluated how I feel throughout the week then a decision will be made. My job is to prepare to play.”
So is Manning’s. Shurmur said the 16-year veteran took the first-team snaps today. The Giants held a jog-through because it began less than 36 hours after the game ended. They will hold a standard practice tomorrow.
Manning will not let the ambiguity of the situation affect his work week.
“You still go about your practice, go about your preparation getting ready for Miami,” Manning said. “Got a lot of work, kind of an unfamiliar team, we don’t play them that often. So, just get in the film work, get the game plan and just see how it goes.”
Asked what he thinks his chances are of starting, Manning said, “I don’t know, we’ll kind of see how the week goes. Either way, you just prepare. Each day, I think we’ll get a little bit more insight into what’s going on.”
Jones started the 10 games prior to Monday night. Shurmur cited some hurdles Jones must clear – figuratively – if he is to face the Dolphins.
“I think we need to be smart coming back from any injury,” Shurmur said. “In the case of a quarterback, aside from going out and throwing, they certainly need to be able to protect themselves, and part of his game is moving around. I just want to make sure he’s healthy enough and fit enough to do that.
“I think if he’s ready to play, he should play. Part of what’s going on this year for him is helping us win games. He’s out there, every time he plays, he’s trying to help us win games. Then along the way here, there’s a lot of great development that happens for a young quarterback. Guys that are healthy and able, in our estimation, should be out there playing.”
It will likely be a few days until we learn if he will.
“We just have to see how (Jones) does by the end of the week,” Shurmur said. “He’s out here. He’s out of the boot, he’s into his regular shoes and he’s out here practicing. Again, we didn’t do much today. We’ll just have to see how he feels by the end of the week to see if he fits into the equation here.”
*Manning completed 15 of 30 passes for 203 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in Philadelphia. But both he and the offense produced little in a second half in which the Giants were held scoreless.
“Some good, some bad,” Manning said of his performance. “There are always going to be plays – could’ve hung with the receiver a little longer here, made a certain throw there. So, some good stuff but also always plays that could be better.”
*Manning deflected a question about the potential of Sunday’s game being his final home start – or final start, period. The Giants will host the Eagles in their season finale, a game Jones might play even if he doesn’t suit up on Sunday.
“We’ll figure it out as the week goes,” Manning said. “Again, nothing is being decided today. All I can worry about is just getting prepared to play. Either way, whether I’m the starter or not, I’m going to be prepared. Just go about my business getting myself ready and getting the team ready to play.”
*Guard Kevin Zeitler (ankle/wrist) and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (ankle) did not make it to the practice field because of their injuries.
*In addition to Jones, three players were limited: wide receiver Golden Tate (foot) and tight ends Evan Engram (foot) and Rhett Ellison (concussion, non-contact). Cornerback Corey Ballentine, who did not play Monday because of a concussion, was a full participant.