Eli Manning sat out the first preseason game and he sat out the last. He played only 12 series in the two games in which he did appear. It is the least amount of work he has ever had in a preseason during his career.
And Giants coach Ben McAdoo said he wanted it that way.
“It was our plan going in,” McAdoo said. “He’s played a lot of football in his career. He has a lot he can fall back on. Two games is enough.”
Manning finished the preseason completing 14 of 24 passes for 109 yards. He managed only four first downs in his appearances and the offense did not score a point with him on the field this summer. He had one interception against the Jets.
Given those less-than-impressive numbers, did McAdoo ever considering abandoning the plan and playing Manning on Thursday night in the finale against the Patriots?
“I wasn’t tempted,” he said.
Manning’s limited reps meant there was plenty of work for backup quarterback Ryan Nassib. As this week has shown to fans in Dallas and Minnesota, having a capable backup at quarterback is essential in today’s NFL, even if your starter is an ironman like Manning. Although Nassib did not look very comforting to Giants fans, he said he was pleased by what he accomplished.
“What’s important for the backup quarterback position is he needs to be able to put the players around him in a position to be successful,” McAdoo said. “We feel Ryan can do that. He missed a couple of throws. We didn’t run some great routes at times. But he keeps playing and he keeps playing hard and he keeps taking shots and staying aggressive.”
And as always after the fourth preseason game, the Giants hope that’s the last time they have to talk about the backup quarterback position until after the season.