NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Eli Manning’s 13-year streak as the Giants’ starting quarterback is coming to an end, with coach Ben McAdoo announcing that Geno Smith will begin Sunday’s game at Oakland under center.
The move will snap Manning’s streak of consecutive starts at 210, second longest in NFL history behind Brett Favre’s 297. The last time a quarterback other than Manning started for the Giants was Kurt Warner in November 2004.
McAdoo also said rookie Davis Webb will play at some point this season.
“Geno will start this week,” McAdoo said. “Over the last five games, we will take a look at Geno, and we will also give Davis an opportunity.”
Manning was given the option of starting against the Raiders to keep his streak alive, but he declined.
“Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” Manning said, according to Giants.com. “My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them. Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won’t finish the game and have a chance to win, it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak.
“It’s hard day to handle this, but I’ll hang in there and figure it out,” Manning told reporters, fighting back tears in the locker room.
McAdoo said he made the decision to start Smith over the weekend, and co-owner John Mara and general manager Jerry Reese were in agreement.
The second-year coach said the organization needed to learn more about Smith and rookie third-round draft pick Davis Webb in the final five weeks of the season. He refused to say if this was the end of the Manning era with the Giants.
Manning and Smith were told about the decision on Tuesday, and later the team was filled in.
“It is my responsibility to make sure we have a complete evaluation of the roster, top to bottom, especially the quarterback position moving on to next season and with that we are giving Geno an opportunity to show what he can do,” McAdoo said.
Considered Super Bowl contenders before the season, the Giants are just 2-9 and have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
Despite losing two of his best receivers — Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall — to season-ending injuries, Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, has completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 2,411 yards with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But Big Blue’s offense has struggled all season, scoring 17 or fewer points in six games and no more than 24 points in any contest.
Manning will turn 37 years old in January, leading to questions about how many more productive years he has left. Meanwhile, the Giants are in position for a high draft choice that they could spend on a top-rated QB, if they determine that neither Smith nor Webb are the answer.
A former second-round draft pick, Smith spent the first four seasons of his career with the Jets, the first two as their starter. He signed a one-year, $1.2 million dollar with the Giants during the offseason.
This season, Smith has played in one game, going 0-for-2.
Smith told Manning that he supports him and has his respect.
“This guy has done a tremendous job in this league,” Smith said. “He has done a bunch of things for this organization and none of that can ever be taken away or forgotten. This is a business and it’s tough. My number is up so it is my time to go out there and do what I am supposed to do and make sure I get the job done.”
The Giants’ selected Webb in the third round of April’s draft out of California. He has yet to play in a game this season.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)