Ben McAdoo started the Eli Manning Doomsday Clock on Sunday when, after the Giants’ 51-17 loss to the Rams, he suggested that every position on the team — quarterback included — would be evaluated to see if the organization wants to take a look at younger players.
On Monday, he tried to stop it.
“Eli Manning is our quarterback,” he said on a conference call. “I have a lot of confidence in Eli. That hasn’t changed.”
But it’s too late. The ticks and tocks can no longer be ignored. There is no snooze button on this countdown.
On Sunday, Manning bristled at the idea of being yanked (not to mention the actuality when Geno Smith mopped up in the final two series). So when he appeared on his weekly WFAN radio segment, one of the main talking points had to do with the eventuality that looms over his head as each wasted week of this season passes by — the eventual end of his reign as the Giants’ starting quarterback.
“I’m going to prepare and go out there and compete and be the quarterback,” Manning said Monday. “If I’m told differently, then I’ll handle that if something ever happens. Until then, I expect to be out there, I want to be out there with my teammates, I want to be out there for this organization and go get a win.”
Based on McAdoo’s Monday remarks, Manning will get that chance Sunday. Given that he would tie his brother Peyton on Sunday for the second-longest starting streak in NFL history (208), it would be callous to bench him now. McAdoo, though, made sure to point out that it has nothing to do with sentimentality. “I’m not concerned about streaks,” he said. “We’re going to try to do everything we can to get a win.”
Manning, too, dodged the significance of the streak. He said he is proud of it because of what it says about him being there for his teammates each and every week, fighting through nagging (and a few major) injuries over the years.
“If the organization ever wants to go a different route and play somebody else, then that’s different,” he said. “It’s not about one person’s starting streak continuing. You have to do what’s best for the team and best for the organization. Hopefully, they think I’m the best for the team, give us the best chance to win. If they don’t believe that, then you have to do what you have to do.”
Manning and McAdoo did not speak Monday about the coach’s remarks Sunday. McAdoo did say he was pleased by Manning’s apparent indignation when the quarterback said he wanted to keep playing.
“I’m glad he said that,” he said. “He’s a pro football player. That’s what he should be saying. Eli is our quarterback. But that doesn’t mean at some point in time we won’t throw another guy in to get a look at. Every position needs to be held accountable. Same thing with the coaches. And obviously, when you lose in the fashion that we lost [Sunday], it’s not good enough. Anywhere. Coaching or playing.”
“Another guy” is likely to be rookie Davis Webb, who has been inactive in each of the first eight games. The Giants used a third-round pick on Webb and, assuming they continue down this season’s path and wind up with a high draft pick for 2018, they’d like to know what they have in Webb before deciding how to use their first-round selection.
The last time Manning was on a team that made that kind of decision, he was the young draft pick taking over for a Super Bowl-winning veteran in Kurt Warner. That change took place right around this time of the 2004 season. “I’ve never really been a part of that scenario,” Manning said. “My mindset is to get ready to play the game. Nothing is going to change that.”
And so it goes — until, at some point for Manning, it no longer does. Lately, that feels as if it will be a lot sooner than anyone may have predicted.
“That’s not in my thought process right now,” he said. “I think about getting ready to go play this game. That’s the only thing I’m going to think about until I’m told differently.”
No Jenkins resolution. Mc Adoo said that as of Monday evening, he had not met with indefinitely suspended cornerback Janoris Jenkins to discuss the timing of his reinstatement. “I’ll meet with him when I get a minute,” he said. Jenkins was suspended after failing to report for practice Oct. 30 and not communicating with the team.