The New York Giants’ season has been an unmitigated disaster.
The team came into the season with playoff aspirations, but quickly bottomed out and lost star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for the season.
Now the Giants are jeopardizing their future with an insane decision.
The Giants are 2-10 and would be picking second if the NFL draft were today. It’s clear the Giants are in lose-now mode, except they aren’t acting like it.
In a move that was bungled, the Giants unceremoniously benched quarterback Eli Manning so they could evaluate the young quarterbacks on their roster before having to make a decision on a quarterback in the draft.
The move was also a way to guarantee the team wouldn’t win many games down the stretch and secure a top 2 pick.
Though inelegant, the move was logical in the long term. However, the Giants couldn’t deal with the backlash and reversed themselves after only one week.
From The New York Post:
Eli Manning has loved being the quarterback of the New York Giants through three presidents now. And because he still clings to this Jeteresque dream of retiring with the team that traded for him on draft day, you can bet your No. 10 jersey he was delivering a message, perhaps even a plea, to the next general manager and head coach:
“I don’t think I’m in decline,” Manning said.
“I think I can make the throws and be a good quarterback and win a lot of games.”
The next game he gets a chance to win comes Sunday against the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium now that interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo has taken the football from Geno Smith and handed it back to him following a one-game absence that felt like an eternity to him and to so many Giants fans.
“I want to be the starting quarterback next year,” Manning said.
He recognizes he may be asked to sit again so rookie Davis Webb can be evaluated. The new regime will be drafting a new franchise quarterback.
He will be 37 next month. He still believes he can play until he’s 40, or close to it. Beauty will be in the eye of the beholder.
“Three more years, two more years, I don’t know,” Manning said. “I feel healthy. You go through the season, you get some bumps and bruises, but I kind of feel as good right now as I have all year. Feel like I can make all the throws and can hang in there. … I’m not sure how much longer.”
Big Brother Peyton was livid with how the Giants botched the benching.
“He was great to have in my corner,” Manning said.
Spagnuolo is in his corner as well.
“When John Mara and I talked, one of the first things he asked was about the quarterback situation and I said, ‘John, my gut right now is that Eli should be the starter,’” Spagnuolo said. “So, I took my gut and visited with the offensive coaches and together with that and my gut, Eli Manning is going to be our quarterback.”
Smith is expected to be the backup this week. Webb, who is getting increased reps, ran the scout team as usual on Wednesday. The Giants will, at some point soon, get Webb some playing time.
“That may come up, I understand,” Manning said. “That’s why you take one game at a time and obviously, that starting job was taken from me, I don’t want to lose it. But I understand the position that we’re in, I understand why they did it last week. So I understand the circumstances and where we stand. I’m going to try to do my best this week and see what happens going forward.”
Head coach Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese were deservedly fired for the mess they made of the Giants, but going back to Eli Manning only compounds the problem.
The team will have fewer opportunities to evaluate rookie quarterback Davis Webb, and Eli is good enough to drag the Giants to a few wins down the stretch and jeopardize a top 2 spot.
In a draft that has a pair of potential franchise quarterbacks that will likely be the first two players taken (Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold), going back to Eli could have detrimental long-term effects.