The New York Giants are one of the flagship franchises of the NFL. With four Super Bowl trophies they have been one of the leaders of the National Football League. Their ownership, the Mara family has been a model of consistency. In the 2004 NFL draft they acquired Quarterback Eli Manning who has started 210 straight games for the team. He is future Hall of Famer, a two time Super Bowl Champion and two time Super Bowl MVP. Both of those championships and MVP games coming over New England Quarterback Tom Brady and their legendary Head Coach Bill Belichick.
All that success seems ancient history now. The Giants are 2-9, they’ve benched their future Hall of Fame quarterback. Head Coach Ben McAdoo has lost the locker room and it doesn’t seem that ownership will keep him past the end of the year. The New York media is clambering for change throughout the organization.
In a very controversial move, Coach McAdoo has decided to bench Manning and play their backup, beloved Mountaineer, Geno Smith. The Mountain State was happy to hear that Smith had signed with the Giants in the off-season. The new contract put him in a stable franchise with an established quarterback for him to learn from. The situation seemed perfect for Geno after the tough position he was placed in with the New York Jets. Fast forward eleven games into the season and the situation is totally different and far from what the Mountaineer faithful hoped for Geno.
Smith will take the start for a 2-9 team on Sunday as they face the Raiders in Oakland. The Giants rank 26th in the NFL in rushing this season and have only 3 touchdowns from their ground game. With a poor running game it will be key for Smith to keep the Giants out of long yardage passing downs. Oakland has a good pass rush duo with Khalil Mack, last year’s NFL defensive MVP and Mountaineer star Bruce Irvin. The two have combined for eleven sacks this season, including two for Irvin last Sunday. Also starting in the game at safety will be Mountaineer legend, Karl Joseph. The Giant’s offensive line has been a disappointment this season, especially at tackle. If the Giants are forced into long passing situations it is unlikely that the offensive line will be able to keep pressure off Smith. Making matters worse the Giants lost their best receiver in Odell Beckham Jr early in the year. The Pro Bowl receiver has had more than 1,300 receiving yards the last three years and without him the Giants have struggled to find reliable targets. Beckham Jr only played in three games and is still third on the team in receiving yards despite being eleven games into the season.
Pitted in a tough environment on the west coast it will be hard for the Giants offense to find success. It seems that half of the Giants fan base and tough media wants to Manning to stay at quarterback. The other half wants rookie Davis Webb, the former Red Raider who transferred to Cal Berkeley for his senior year. Forcing a backup into a starting role right now over a Hall of Famer quarterback seems hard enough but starting an untested rookie is a terrible decision. With a struggling offense it will be key for Smith to take care of the ball and try to stay in short third down situations. Smith has a chance to lead the Giants to a win if they can avoid turnovers offensively and rely on their strong defense.