The Eli Manning era is over with the New York Giants and it’s about time. The Giants made the correct move by going to Geno Smith.
New York Giants star Eli Manning has started 210 consecutive regular-season games, the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history behind Brett Favre’s 297.
But if you ask me, that’s a few starts more than I would’ve played him. The NFL is a what can you do for me now league. For the curmudgeon Giants fans who are about to get off their rocking chairs to tell me about the good ole’ days when the team was winning Super Bowls, you need a reality check.
That was six years ago, man. Which is the equivalent to eons ago in this millennial NFL age where instant coffee in the microwave isn’t fast enough. The Giants haven’t been relevant since those good ole’ days.
You literally have to blow off the dust on the highlight reels to pop that back into the DVD player. The Giants are 2-9 and they finally came to the decision that it’s time to go to the bullpen.
Geno Smith to start at quarterback on Sunday. READ: https://t.co/SKRIc6bCvP pic.twitter.com/LSSHIAccD4
— New York Giants (@Giants) November 28, 2017
My only question is what took so long?
Manning is in his 14th year in the league and has thrown double-digit interceptions in every full season he’s played. He’s a turnover machine that has negative awareness when it comes to ball security.
The Giants have been on borrowed time for several years since that last moment in the sun. Much of that onus falls on the general manager, Jerry Reese, who has signed the wrong guys and has sucked in the NFL Draft.
According to NFL Draft insiders I speak with, the success of a draft is based on how many starters you can get out of it. If you get two starters out of any draft, you’re doing pretty good.
Let’s just say they haven’t been very successful in that department.
But a lot of it can also fall on Manning, and at 36 years of age (he turns 37 in January), we already know what he is. Geno Smith is still the great unknown. He’s 27 years young (a full decade younger than Manning) and has shown glimpses of brilliance throughout his polarizing NFL career.
But let’s be honest, the New York Jets haven’t exactly been known for their quarterback-developing skills over the last 50 years. They say that you’re a product of your environment—and the Jets’ environment sucked.
Despite that, Smith actually overachieved during his time with the Jets. You don’t have to look any further than his early years with Gang Green. In his rookie season, he played with absolute garbage at the skill positions with his starting receivers being Jeremy Kerley (a third receiver at best), David Nelson (career journeyman) and Jeff Cumberland (the third tight end on the LA Chargers).
Despite that crap show, he led the Jets to a .500 record and nearly brought them back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Fast forward to 2014 and there were more inferior weapons for Smith to try and work with: Percy Harvin (special teams gadget player), Jace Amaro (a second-round bust), and Eric Decker (the best weapon he had and that’s not a compliment).
Geno Smith can be the bridge to the future.
Smith has a five-game audition to show the Giants what he has. Although he’ll be in familiar territory. The Giants have allowed 26 sacks, their offensive line is terrible, and all their consistent weapons are either out for the season (Odell Beckham Jr and Brandon Marshall) or ineffective.
All Smith has to be is a Tyrod Taylor-type of QB: cut back on the turnovers that have plagued him throughout his career and remain calm, cool, and collected. That will be difficult in this market undoubtedly. But he doesn’t have to do it all by himself.
If he can have an average touchdown to interception ratio and help the Giants win half their games down the stretch, Smith could be the Giants’ quarterback for the next several years.
It’s been reported that the Giants have had a keen eye at the top of the 2018 NFL Draft. They should be doing their due diligence. But here’s the thing, it’s a luxury to sit a rookie quarterback and slowly develop him until he’s ready for action on Sundays. The Giants can afford that by using Smith as the bridge to the future.
He’s a very capable quarterback if you can surround him with some basic talent. We’ve seen that in the past. Just imagine what he could do with some weapons.
The moral of this story is simple.
Manning is way past his expiration date. The Giants aren’t Super Bowl contenders, despite the hype before the season. So it’s time to move on from Manning and usher in the next era. That era includes Smith and he’s going to prove that over the final five games of this season.
There’s no sense in playing Manning down the stretch. What would you do it for, nostalgia? That’s not the proper way to run an NFL franchise. We said it already, it’s a what can you do for me now league. Who cares about doing a final homecoming tour for Manning? Let’s rip off the Band-Aid so Manning can stop crying about it.
Eli Manning fight back tears. Almost crying, tough to see #Giants pic.twitter.com/cHRTZYEXK4
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) November 28, 2017
The old Giants are dead: Tom Coughlin, Jeremy Shockey, Antonio Pierce, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck are all gone. It’s time for Manning to do his best Old Yeller impression and get dragged in the backyard so the Giants can put him out of his misery.
So yes, the Giants made the right decision to move on with Geno Smith for two reasons. If Smith is going to suck like everyone expects, that means the Giants guarantee their terrible draft pick and get to pick a new (hopefully franchise) signal caller.
The second reason is that if I’m right and Smith is halfway decent, then you’ve discovered the bridge that can bring you to Neverland until it’s time to turn the page again.