Benching the starting quarterback is a new experience for the Giants, who haven’t had to think about the position for 14 years.
For Geno Smith, it’s standard operating procedure.
“I’ve been in this situation before, honestly,” said Smith, who will start on Sunday in Oakland against the Raiders in place of Eli Manning. “Just last year [with the Jets] I went through the same things, so you kind of have to expect everything. You can never be too sure. As we all know, this is a business. It’s a tough business. Anything can happen and no one’s job is 100 percent secure.”
Smith will become the first player to start for the Giants at quarterback other than Manning since Nov. 14, 2004, when Kurt Warner made his final start for the team.
“You’re excited,” Smith said of his reaction when told of the change by Ben McAdoo on Tuesday. “I’m always excited to have an opportunity to play, but there’s no major reaction. Didn’t throw a party or anything. Just went to work. Got into the classroom, started watching Oakland and just preparing.
“I wasn’t shocked or surprised,” Smith added. “I understand that things happen in this business. You just got to be ready for whatever happens and I’ve been working hard. I’ve been working hard behind the scenes, you know, doing all the little things. So, I expect them to pay off.”
With the Jets for four years Smith started 30 games. His last start came on Oct. 23, 2016, when the Jets played the Ravens. He tore his ACL in that game.
“Guys were kind of fired up,” Smith said of the reaction from teammates to the announcement. “Guys are giving me hugs, handshakes. I think guys have witnessed my story from afar, just seeing how things have kind of played out. So, I think they’re looking forward to that part of it. They’ve seen me practice. They’ve seen me get better throughout the year and I think they’re really eager to get to work during the week and try and go out there and get a victory.”
In announcing the change, McAdoo also said he wants to see rookie Davis Webb play at some point. That may or may not come this week in Oakland.
Webb seemed more stunned by the developments than Smith, calling it a “sad day.”
“I told him, I said, ‘You’re the best teammate I’ve ever had in my life and you’re the best quarterback I’ve ever seen in my life,’” Webb said of his conversation with Manning. “I’ve learned a lot this season, especially from him and how to handle himself. That continued today and it won’t stop.”
Nor will the Giants’ season, which has five games remaining. The first five without Manning starting at quarterback in almost a decade and a half.
“This guy has done a tremendous job in this league, done a bunch of things for this organization,” Smith said of Manning. “None of that can ever be taken away or forgotten. This is a business, man. It’s tough and my number is up, so it’s my time to go out there and do what I’m supposed to do and make sure that I get the job done.”
Jets’ revolving door
The 13 quarterbacks who made starts for ther Jets since Nov. 21, 2004, when Eli Manning made his first start with the Giants:
62 Mark Sanchez, 2009-12
32 Chad Pennington, 2004-07
30 Geno Smith, 2013-14, 2016
27 Ryan Fitzpatrick, 2015-16
16 Brett Favre, 2008
11 Josh McGown, 2017
9 Brooks Bollinger, 2007
9 Kellen Clemens 2007, 2009
4 Bryce Petty, 2016
4Vinny Testeverde, 2005
3 Michael Vick, 2014
2 Quincy Carter, 2004
1 Greg McElroy, 2012