Giants Benching Eli? Geno Smith To Start Sunday
Manning's streak of 210 consecutive starts under center - the second longest streak by a QB in league history - will come to an end this weekend as head coach Ben McAdoo confirmed Tuesday afternoon that he'll start Geno Smith when the 2-9 Giants visit the Raiders on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, Manning released a statement outlining his stance on the issue, via BigBlueView.com:
“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's streak dates back to November of 2004 and is second only to Brett Favre's 297-consecutive-starts.
There has been speculation that given the Giants awful record, and a rich quarterback draft-class in 2018, they'd look to use an early first-round to target a franchise QB. It's been thought, anyway, that such a player would be groomed as a Manning's future replacement.
Part of the move to sit Manning is to allow rookie Davis Webb some action so the team can gauge what he is. Although Smith gets the start this weekend, no one thinks he's the answer now or in the future. McAdoo wouldn't say that Davis would play or even dress this weekend, but did say he'd see reps as the team's dreadful season winds down.
What role Manning will have the remainder of the season, or in the team's future, suddenly seems up in the air.
Later Tuesday, Manning spoke to reporters saying ''You play to win. When your the starting quarterback it's your job to go out there and win the football game.'' He confirmed the McAdoo offered him the chance to continue to start, but said it didn't make sense to start him just for the sake of continuing the streak.
''Going in there knowing you're coming out....start and playing just to keep the streak alive, I don't think that's right,'' Manning said.
When asked if thinks he'd started his last game as a Giant, Manning replied, ''I don't know.''
In his 210-game regular season stretch, Eli tossed for over 50,000 yards, 334 touchdowns and 222 interceptions while going 110-100.