Geno Smith starting in place of Eli Manning last December created an uproar that quickly led to the firing of head coach Ben McAdoo. After watching Manning struggle against the Eagles on Thursday night, Smith clearly feels a little vindication for both himself and McAdoo.
“Y’all owe my boy Mac an apology!!” he tweeted on Friday morning.
McAdoo was villified for the way he handled the transition at quarterback. Fans and former Giants players nearly stormed the gates at the Giants’ complex when it was announced that Manning would not be starting against the Raiders and that Smith instead would get the game.
The decision stemmed from a directive from co-owner John Mara to see what the younger quarterbacks on the roster had when the 2017 season was in a tailspin. McAdoo’s plan was to have Manning start the games to keep his streak intact but replace him at some point in the final five games with Smith or, as the season went on, rookie Davis Webb. Instead, Manning said he would not start any game in which there was a plan for his removal just for the sake of the streak, and Smith played on Dec. 3 in Oakland. McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese were fired the next day and Manning played every snap the rest of the season under interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo.
Smith is now a backup quarterback with the Chargers. McAdoo is not coaching this season.
How much longer the Giants stick with Manning this season remains to be seen. They are unlikely to make the same mistake they made last year and go through the season without getting a look at their rookie quarterback, in this case Kyle Lauletta.
Head coach Pat Shurmur sounded reluctant to make such a move in the immediate future.
“I’m not concerned about Eli,” Shurmur said after the 34-13 loss. “None of us did anything good enough to win tonight.”
Sooner or later, though, the Giants will have to pull the plug on Manning. McAdoo already did the hard part by ending the streak. Perhaps, as the Giants move forward from their franchise quarterback of the past 14 seasons, that will become his legacy.