For the first time since 2004, a quarterback other than Eli Manning will start under center for the Giants.
For the first time since 2004, a quarterback other than Eli Manning will start under center for the Giants. Geno Smith will get the start on Sunday against the Raiders, the team announced Tuesday. Rookie Davis Webb will also have the opportunity to play for the first time.
Manning’s streak of consecutive games started will end at 210, two games longer than his brother Peyton’s but 87 games shy of the NFL–best mark set by Brett Favre. The Giants would have allowed Manning to artificially keep the streak alive but he refused, saying it “tarnishes” the accomplishment.
“Coach [Ben] McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” Manning told the team website. “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.”
McAdoo later told reporters that Manning would have played the first half if he had agreed to the plan.
Manning, who turns 37 in January, is under contract for two more seasons, though the Giants can save $16 million by cutting or trading him after June 1.
With injuries having ravaged the offensive line and receiving corps, Manning is having perhaps the worst season of his career. He is completing 62.5 percent of his passes and has 14 touchdowns to just seven interceptions, but he is averaging a career worst 9.8 yards per completion as the has devolved to mostly short dump-offs.
Smith signed with the Giants in the offseason after four tumultuous years with the Jets. Webb was a third-round pick this year and fans have been clamoring for the Giants to give him a shot, though he has been inactive for every game this season.
ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reported earlier this month that the Giants had already begun scouting the top college quarterbacks with the aim of possibly drafting one as Manning’s replacement. The Giants currently have the third-worst record in the NFL. They were officially eliminated from playoff contention this week.