New York fans are still recovering from Tuesday's seismic news
For the first time since 2004, somebody not named Eli Manning will start at quarterback for the New York Giants. The 2-9 Giants announced Tuesday that Geno Smith will be under center in Oakland on Sunday. Rookie Davis Webb will also see time over New York's final five games. "We owe it to the organization to get an evaluation of everybody on the roster, and that includes at the quarterback position," coach Ben McAdoo said, explaining the decision. "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."
The consummate professional took questions at his locker per usual Tuesday, though he was clearly emotional about the end of his 210-game start streak (second to only Brett Favre among QBs in NFL history). “Coach Mac called me in,” Manning said. “Told me that we were going to start splitting some time, and thought it was best to give Geno the start and I’ll back him up. I’ll be a good teammate. I don’t like it, but it’s part of football. You handle it. I didn’t do my job.”
The New York media was stunned by the unceremonious benching of the town's 36-year-old two-time Super Bowl winner, with radio personality Mike Francesa calling the decision "a gutless move." Among former Giants, Tom Coughlin said he was “very upset” by the news. And the last QB to start for the Giants, Kurt Warner, said "Shame on the Giants."
The MMQB team has also weighed in.
• Conor Orr wrote that this is just the beginning of New York's latest dramatic attraction:
The decision makes a few things crystal clear. First, if McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese are going down, they are going to the greatest lengths imaginable to signal that their processes are not the problem. Second, the palace intrigue surrounding the Giants at season’s end just went from marginal curiosity to must-see television. They will be a soap opera of grand proportions as speculation swirls around the futures of McAdoo, Manning, general manager Jerry Reese and other high-end power players. Third, the team’s loyal—and vocal—base of recent Super Bowl winning alumni that seem to forever exist in the club’s orbit will be outraged. Fourth, the Giants will undoubtedly draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
And fifth: This will almost certainly be the end of Eli Manning in New York.
• I called in Andy Benoit to get the MMQB film expert's take on Manning's play and his potential value going forward. Here's what he had to say:
It’s been a miserable season for the Giants…and head coach Ben McAdoo’s idea (or someone above McAdoo’s idea) is to now bench the most iconic, respected leader on the team, even though he hasn’t played poorly. Has Eli Manning missed some throws this year? Sure. Has he had a few boneheaded turnovers? Of course (he’s good for four or five a year). Do his positives still outweigh his negatives? Overwhelmingly.
Manning has played with no wide receivers (New York’s top four all got hurt), a suspect offensive line and without a running game. Best case scenario: replacing him with Geno Smith changes none of this. Worst case scenario: it exacerbates the problems.
The Manning Era has run its course in New York. He’ll be in the Ring of Honor one day. But next year, expect to see him in a Broncos uniform. An elder Manning has helped John Elway’s team once before, and Elway knows he still has a Super Bowl caliber defense, though maybe for only another two or three years. Manning can immediately right Denver’s reeling offense. Look for that in 2018.
• Peter King isn't ready to close the book on Manning and the Giants. This is what he wrote in his weekly mailbag:
The Giants are 2-9, playing for nothing. And the most important thing for this franchise is to fact-find for 2018—particularly March and April 2018, when you have to decide if you want to use your top-five draft choice on a quarterback of the future, or if you want to ride a 37-year-old quarterback into his sunset. Maybe you want to do both. But think of the franchise here. Don’t think of the person. When the person is gone, the franchise has to keep playing the games, and the best thing for you to do is figure out everything you can about the people to replace that person. The way to do that is to find out what’s behind Manning.
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NOW ON THE MMQB: Jenny Vrentas calls out Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib ... Ben Baskin visited Josh Gordon and left with a must-read profile ... Albert Breer updates his QB stock watch (read up, Giants fans) ... and more.
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1. Jimmy Garoppolo will start for the first time for the 49ers Sunday against Chicago. Kyle Shanahan also said that San Francisco will likely put a one-year franchise tag on its 26-year-old QB next season.
2. Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib's suspensions have both been reduced to one game on appeal.
3. Frank Gore has run the ball more than 3,000 times in his 13 NFL seasons, but as Gregg Rosenthal found out, the running back still loves the work, which explains how he's defied age at one of the sport's toughest positions. "I don't know how many years I have left, but today, I'm here," Gore said. "I'm going to enjoy it."
4. In Kansas, a mother and two relatives were killed in a car crash hours after her two sons won a high school football state title.
5. Linebacker Brian Cushing is back in Houston after serving a 10-game suspension for PED use.
6. The Chiefs are collapsing at record speed.
7. The Eagles defensive line is the deepest in the NFL. No other team has five players with 10 QB hits each. And from the sound of it, they've learned to split time and share the glory. Being 10-1 helps, too.
8. Unsurprisingly, Texans-Ravens drew the lowest MNF overnight rating of the season, and the second lowest all-time (only last year's Saints-Falcons matchup during the first presidential debate was worse). It turns out America was not ready for Tom Savage and Joe Flacco.
9. The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments about New Jersey's desire to legalize sports betting in the state. Andrew Brandt tells you what you need to know.
10. Washington wideout Josh Doctson is beginning to command opponents' respect.
Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.
Circling back to Manning, here are the 188 QBs who started during his streak.
Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at email@example.com