The Giants announced that Geno Smith will start at quarterback on Sunday against the Raiders. The move will allow the Giants to evaluate their younger quarterback in what has become a lost season.
“Geno will start this week,” coach Ben McAdoo said in a press release. “Over the last five games, we will take a look at Geno, and we will also give Davis [Webb] an opportunity.”
It’s a historic move for the G-Men given that Eli Manning has started 210 consecutive regular-season games. It is the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history, second only to Brett Favre’s 297. According to the press release, Manning was given the option to continue his streak, but declined.
“Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” said Manning, who has started every Giants game since Nov. 21, 2004. “My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them. Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won’t finish the game and have a chance to win it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak. Like I always have, I will be ready to play if and when I am needed. I will help Geno and Davis prepare to play as well as they possibly can.”
The Giants will be re-evaluating every area of the team in the offseason, including the quarterback position. Manning isn’t necessarily being forced out, but the Giants are expected to look towards the future as his 37th birthday comes in January. McAdoo & Co. are about to find out whether the former Jets bust is a potential option. Meanwhile, they’ll have to decide on Manning’s future before he collects on a $5MM roster bonus on the fifth day of the 2018 league year in March.
Smith played in 33 regular-season games with 30 starts for the Jets, but he has not started a game since October of last year. His stint in green was defined by poor play, injuries, and a locker room brawl that left him with a major jaw fracture.
Heading into the season, the Giants believed that Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., and free agent pickup Brandon Marshall would power them into the playoffs. Unfortunately, injuries to OBJ, Marshall, and scores of other key players have taken them out of contention. The Giants are 2-9 with no mathematical chance of reaching the postseason.
“This is not the way it should be, but unfortunately, it’s where we are,” McAdoo said. “Our number one priority every week is to go win a game, but we owe it to the organization to get an evaluation of everybody on the roster, and that includes at the quarterback position. I’ll say it again, I have the utmost respect for Eli and everything he has done for this organization throughout his career. He is the consummate professional. He doesn’t like the position we are in, and neither do any of us. Eli has had to deal with a lot this season. Through it all, he has done everything we have asked of him in getting that unit ready to play. He has been steady, just like he has always been.”
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