With the 2017 season going downhill fast, is Eli Manning at the end of his time with the New York Giants?
The New York Giants fell to 1-7 this season with a non-competitive 51-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, and if the 2018 NFL draft were happening today they’d have the third overall pick. Eli Manning hasn’t played well this season, including Sunday (20-for-37 for 220 yards, two touchdowns, one interception). But he’s hardly the only problem, with a defense that seems to have quit and an injury-depleted wide receiver also undermining the Giants.
After Sunday’s game, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo offered the idea of looking toward the future and getting younger players some reps over the final eight games. When asked if that included quarterbacks, here was his answer.
“That includes everybody,” McAdoo said.
Manning has started 207 consecutive regular-season games for the Giants, going back to midway through his rookie season in 2004. He’s one start shy of tying his brother Peyton for second on the all-time list of consecutive starts, with first-place Brett Favre well out of reach.
Behind Manning, the Giants have Geno Smith and 2017 third-round pick Davis Webb. Webb has been inactive for all eight games thus far, and Smith has two pass attempts this season now.
Manning will turn 37 in January, and the Giants have never seriously addressed the question of who his successor will be. Ryan Nassib, a fourth-round pick out of Syracuse in 2013, is already gone and Webb’s NFL-readiness coming out of “Air Raid” offenses in college is easy to question. The idea of drafting a quarterback of the future, while Manning has not seemed especially close to relinquishing the starting job, is a difficult thing to juggle. But the Giants have undoubtedly botched it to this point.
Benching Manning for Smith, or more likely Webb, as soon as Week 10 would put the Giants into full tank-mode. However, next Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers looks like a pivotal game in the battle for the second overall pick in next spring’s draft.
McAdoo will be remembered as an overmatched head coach, on the level of Rich Kotite with the Jets. But becoming the guy who ended Manning’s start streak, without anything resembling a better option to go to this year, would be a move on another level of foolishness.