New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo announced on Tuesday afternoon that Geno Smith will start the team’s Week 13 game on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, effectively benching Eli Manning.
Manning had started 210-consecutive regular-season games, the second-longest streak in NFL history. Brett Favre holds the league record with 297-straight starts.
The 36-year-old Manning was given the option to start Sunday’s game in Oakland but declined. McAdoo added that Davis Webb will also see snaps before the end of the season as the Giants begin searching for an alternative at the quarterback position.
“Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” Manning said. “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.”
Manning had not missed a game since 2004, taking over the starting job from Kurt Warner. Best known for his two championships over the New England Patriots, the two-time Super Bowl MVP is one of seven quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for over 50,000 yards.
His numbers this season haven’t necessarily been that bad. In 11 games, he has a 62.5-percent completion rate with 2,411 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But the Giants’ offense has been stagnant for most of the season as they have the second-lowest scoring unit in the NFL.
One cannot put all the blame on Manning though considering his offensive line has been subpar and the playcalling has kept the ball out of the hands of budding running back Orleans Darkwa.
Now the Giants will turn to Smith, who has started just one game over the past three years, which came in 2016 as a member of the New York Jets, the team that drafted him.
Smith’s numbers shouldn’t instill much confidence in Giants fans. In four seasons with the Jets, Smith compiled a 12-18 record as a starter with 28 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.
He is likely a placeholder for Webb, the third-round selection out of California during the 2017 draft. It was abundantly clear that the youngster was not ready for the NFL during the preseason as he looked slow to adapt to the pace of the game and the complex, improved defenses lined up against him.
With the Giants basically mailing it in this season though, a top-three draft pick could be in the cards come springtime. That could mean a chance at drafting a franchise quarterback whether that be UCLA’s Josh Rosen or USC’s Sam Darnold.