The New York Giants fell to 1-5 on Thursday night after a 34-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, and the chorus of criticism for longtime Giants quarterback Eli Manning is growing louder.
The play of the 37-year-old Manning has fallen sharply (ESPN Giants reporter Jordan Raanan provides a deeper look, including statistical proof), and after changing and adding so much – the Giants are on their third head coach since 2015, have a new general manager, have invested in a new left tackle, have an impressive roster of skill players and spent the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft on Saquon Barkley – they’re still not winning or scoring points.
And at least one former New York player say it’s time to stop pointing fingers at everyone else.
Geno Smith weighs in
On Friday, Geno Smith, who spent last year as one of Manning’s backups and is now Philip Rivers‘ backup with the Chargers, came to the defense of former head coach Ben McAdoo.
“Y’all owe my boy Mac an apology!!” Smith tweeted.
McAdoo came under fire last season for benching Manning, who had started every game since Week 10 of his rookie season in 2004 for the franchise, winning two Super Bowl rings. In Week 12, McAdoo sat Manning, and Smith started and played the entire game against Oakland.
Some of the criticism came for benching Manning, ending his streak of consecutive starts when he wasn’t injured. Some came because Smith was looked at as a known entity after his time with the Jets (then-rookie Davis Webb, who had been a third-round pick, did not get a chance to start or even take any snaps).
Smith made only one start. McAdoo was fired the next day. And after the firestorm, Manning was back as starter a week later.
McAdoo had other mistakes
While the decision to bench Manning ultimately led to McAdoo’s firing – and Smith feels like Manning’s play vindicates McAdoo – it wasn’t the only thing. Players showed little discipline, with several fined or suspended by the team during his 28-game tenure, his offense was too predictable (and didn’t score), his demeanor wasn’t media friendly, and, well, he didn’t win nearly enough.
So it wasn’t just one thing, even though it was a big thing.
Manning is seemingly out of excuses, and Giants have no choice
Manning was intercepted on the second play of the game on Thursday, and the combination of being picked in Giants territory and Kamu Grugier-Hill’s 24-yard return meant that the Eagles had a short distance to the end zone. They scored in three plays, and barely 90 seconds into the game, New York was in a 7-0 hole.
The 37-year-old Manning was 24-for-43 for 281 yards on the night, with no touchdowns and the interception.
But the Giants may be stuck with Manning, at least for this year. His backups are Alex Tanney, a 30-year-old journeyman with only 14 pass attempts in his career, and Kyle Lauletta, the 108th pick in this year’s draft.
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