As they approach the stretch run of a miserable season, the New York Giants (2-9) have benched Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith.
Goodbye, 210-game start streak. Goodbye, common sense.
“I was not expecting this a few days after Thanksgiving, that Eli Manning’s streak would end, No. 1, and that – Lord hep us – Geno Smith would be the one to take his place,” New York Post Giants writer Paul Schwartz said on Ferrall on the Bench. “This season is unprecedented. The fact that they’re 2-9, I think, has everybody haywire. This is so unexpected that you almost have to expect unexpected things.”
Still, no one expected the Giants to bench their two-time Super Bowl-winning franchise quarterback.
“Benching Eli Manning is about as drastic as it gets,” Schwartz said. “But I and other people and fans have been saying, as the season’s gone down the tubes, it would be good if the Giants get a look at Davis Webb here. He’s a third-round draft pick, you’re going to have a top-three pick in the draft next year, and you kind of have to know (what to do with) Eli Manning, who’s going to be 37.”
Webb, 22, was the 87th pick in the draft. Smith, 27, is largely considered a bust, not to mention a punch line (pun intended).
“Geno Smith is a complete pawn in this,” Schwartz said. “He’s going to start one game maybe, and they’re going to go right to Webb when they think he’s ready and find out all they can about Webb. Making the move with Eli was going to be incredibly difficult. I don’t think they handled this right, but look, everyone loves Eli, so when you make this move, it was going to be very difficult for everybody.”
Schwartz does not expect head coach Ben McAdoo or general manager Jerry Reese to be with the organization next season.
“I don’t really see a scenario where they come back,” Schwartz said. “I really don’t. You’re looking at 3-13 or 2-14. There’s been controversy of the field. There’s been players suspended. Now Eli Manning gets benched. They’re out of contention earlier than any year since 1976.”
When news of the benching broke, several former Giants took to Twitter to blast the organization for what they felt was a callous, nonsensical decision.
“These guys – Plaxico Burress, Shaun O’Hara, David Diehl, tons of other guys, Osi Umenyiora – have all gone to Twitter and backed Eli and destroyed this move,” Schwartz said. “Justin Tuck said it’s the stupidest think he’s ever seen. That is nice to see. Patrick Ewing, for goodness’ sake, goes on Twitter and says he’s already respected how Eli has handled New York – and certainly Patrick Ewing knows a lot about being a superstar in New York. So that has been nice and refreshing to see these guys all rally (around Eli).”
The Giants will face the Raiders (5-6) in Oakland this Sunday. Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. ET.