After 210 consecutive starts, Eli Manning has been benched by the New York Giants. Head Coach Ben McAdoo has announced that Geno Smith will start Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. McAdoo said the Giants will use the last five games to evaluate Geno Smith and also take a look at 3rd round rookie Davis Webb.
I must admit I’m not a huge fan of Eli Manning. His resume rests on two Super Bowl upset wins over the New England Patriots. Yet if we remove those seasons of 2007 and 2011, Eli Manning is left with zero playoff wins. None. A donut. The Giants made the playoffs four other seasons with Manning under center including a first round bye in 2008. They were one and done each time. We won’t even get into the seasons where Eli led the league in interceptions. My purpose isn’t to insult the man. On the contrary, I think it’s time for me to come to the defense of Eli Manning. I fully understand the Giants benching him. And the Giants can hide under the charades of player development if they want. I know better and so should you.
The Giants are a 2-9 football team. They are easily the biggest disappointment in professional football. Many expected the Giants to win the NFC East with a defense that finished 2016 playing at a championship level. The addition of Brandon Marshall figured to alleviate some pressure off of Odell Beckham Jr. Then the Giants started 0-5 and lost Beckham and Marshall to injured reserve. Those were the two weapons expected to shoulder the Giants offense. Their losses rendered the Giant offense useless. The running game has been absent for some time and the offensive line has struggled to protect the definition of a pocket passer in Eli Manning. With no offense to even remotely speak of, the Giant defense quite frankly hasn’t had a fair chance to succeed despite the likes of Landon Collins, Damon Harrison, and Olivier Vernon.
The Giants are going nowhere and they know it. Starting Geno Smith increases their chances to lose and nab as high as the second overall pick in the draft (Cleveland isn’t letting go of that number one spot). As overrated as Eli Manning may be, the man has two Super Bowl rings. Geno Smith had two full seasons to start (2013-2014) in which he tossed 25 touchdowns vs 34 interceptions, then got his jaw broken by a teammate before the 2015 season could even kickoff, and he’s been relatively inactive since. Do the Giants really think Geno Smith will lead them to victories throwing to the likes of Roger Lewis and Tavarres King if Eli can’t. The mere fact that the Giants are mentioning a 3rd round pick named Davis Webb means the tankfest is in full session. And the house-cleaning should follow. Ben McAdoo cannot remain employed as a head coach. There is nothing inspiring about him. This is a man that (during a press conference) said players should be self-motivated. Oh really? Player motivation isn’t in some respects the responsibility of the head coach? Giants ownership should have kicked him and his Pat Riley haircut to the curb immediately for such an idiotic statement. There are players on the Giants defense who are avoiding the basic function of defense which is tackling because they don’t want to put their bodies on the line for a coach they deem incompetent and uninspiring. General Manger Jerry Reese will likely be gone due to his inability to protect Eli Manning with an adequate offensive line. I can’t imagine a new GM entering New York and wanting anything to do with McAdoo. He has to go.
Eli Manning will probably be inducted into the Hall of Fame at some point. It may be more on the strength of two Cinderella playoff runs than his overall body of work but that’s an argument for another day. One thing is for sure. Eli did not deserve to be associated with this Giant disaster.