Say what you want about how the Giants have mishandled their quarterback transition. Just don’t say they’re tanking.
“That’s complete [expletive],” team co-owner John Mara said on Wednesday, getting as angry at the idea as he did at any other topic during his 15-minute impromptu news conference. “I would never allow that here. We’re going to try to win the games. We’re just going to have to try to do it with a different guy at quarterback.”
That guy, this week, is Geno Smith and not Eli Manning. While no one is explicitly saying that Smith gives the Giants a better chance to win against the Raiders than Manning — “Don’t put words in my mouth,” Ben McAdoo said to that notion — the team’s spin is that they can still compete.
“We feel confident that we can put a plan in place to have Geno be successful on Sunday and for our team to have an opportunity to win,” McAdoo said.
Maybe. But that’s not the ultimate goal of the next five games. Mara said the Giants want to evaluate both Smith and rookie Davis Webb so they can go into the offseason with a better idea of what they have on their roster.
“I don’t know if this is going to give us all the information we need, but it’s going to be better than nothing,” Mara said. “It’s better than just watching them run scout team out there every day. With quarterbacks in particular, you don’t know what you have until they’re out there facing a pass rush, making decisions at critical points in the game and making plays. So we want to get whatever information we can.
“Obviously we’re going to have a high draft pick this year and there are going to be some quarterbacks available. So that’s going to be a decision that we’re going to have to make, but I’d like to make that decision at least having watched some of these guys play.”
There is, it seems, in the Giants’ thinking, a line between tanking and not playing the best players possible.
Mara also left the door open for Manning to return to the Giants next year.
“I think he can still win in the NFL, yes, and I hope it’s here,” he said. “But that’ll be a discussion for the offseason.”