The drama in Gotham is far from over

The drama in Gotham is far from over
December 14
04:00 2017

For the first time since week 10 of his rookie year, someone other than Eli Manning made a start under center for the New York Giants.  NFL veteran Geno Smith made the start for the G-men, ending a streak of 210 consecutive starts by Manning.

Manning’s streak was the second longest in NFL history behind Brett Favre (297).  Ben McAdoo, former Giants head coach, made the shocking announcement that Manning would sit the Tuesday before their game against Oakland Raiders.

According to McAdoo the benching of Manning was for the coaching staff to get an in game evaluation of Smith and rookie quarterback Davis Webb.  The Giants are a disappointing 2-9 on the season after finishing 11-5 last season while also earning a playoff berth.  They now join the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers as the only teams to be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention heading into week 13.

That decision from McAdoo seemed to be the icing on the cake leading to his firing along with general manager Jerry Reese a week after the benching of Manning.  Throughout the season there have been rumors swirling about the job security of McAdoo and Reese, so this seemed to be a move that was destined to happen sooner or later.

Following the announcement being made public, Manning seemed to fight back tears as he took questions from the media in the team locker room.  He said McAdoo gave him an opportunity to start the game but would be pulled later for Smith or Webb.  Manning declined that option, saying it was not fair to start just for the sake of the streak.

It is hard to fathom that all of the Giants front office and ownership was on board with the decision to bench Manning.  After all, he is a two-time Super Bowl MVP and the best quarterback the franchise has ever had.  To bench him for a look at two quarterbacks who are obviously not as good as Manning was a bit perplexing, in my opinion.

Not to discredit the abilities of Webb or Smith but for one, Webb is a rookie quarterback with no regular season playing experience while Smith had a much maligned career playing for the New York Jets from 2013-16.  I’m sorry but there is no way you can tell me either one of those quarterbacks is better than Manning or even deserve a look, since he still has something left in the tank.

To play devil’s advocate, I understand with the season being essentially over, coupled with Manning being 36 years old, the need to evaluate the talent they have at the quarterback position.  I don’t think this was the best way to go about that.

In the wake of the firing of McAdoo and Reese, Manning was once again named starter for the Giants by interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo.  Smith will be the backup while Webb will serve as the No. 3 quarterback.

Giants co-owner John Mara was on board with evaluating the other talent at quarterback.  He even went to McAdoo and Reese weeks before the benching to discuss the issue but says he was not happy with the plan or the way the benching of Manning was handled.

Mara insisted that the move to bench Manning was not the end of his career as a Giant.  He said he feels Manning can still win in the NFL and hopes it is with New York.  It is still unclear whether there is a plan to work in Smith or Webb as the season comes to a close but as for right now Manning has his job back.

Manning’s career is not over in my opinion, though.  He has never been one of the upper echelon quarterbacks in the NFL but as shown by his two Super Bowl victories, when surrounded by the right talent on offense along with having a solid defensive unit, he can win.  If not for a host of injuries to star offensive players this year, this entire saga may not have taken place at all and this conversation would be mute.

The Giants are in line to have one of the top picks in next year’s draft.  With the quarterback position projected to be the deepest it has been in years, it is logical to assume the Giants will take one to either learn from Manning as a backup or take the helm as a rookie.

If Manning does leave New York there are a few teams off the top of my head that could immediately use Manning’s services due to the surrounding pieces they have in place.  The Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and maybe the Denver Broncos would all be happy to have a quarterback of Manning’s caliber on their roster.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this drama unfolds behind closed doors versus how it is portrayed in the media.  I’m certain Manning has extra motivation to prove he can still play in this league whether with the Giants or another team next season.  Hopefully for all football fans, Giant management gives Manning a mulligan so he can start next season with a clean slate with a full compliment of healthy players and evaluate him then.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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