In a stunning announcement Tuesday afternoon, Giants coach Ben McAdoo said Smith will start over Manning in Sunday’s game against the Raiders. The Giants are also planning to play rookie quarterback Davis Webb this season, McAdoo said, although it’s unclear whether Webb will play on Sunday.
“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.”
The move ends Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive regular-season starts, the second-longest streak in NFL history behind Brett Favre’s record of 297. Manning has started every game since he was named the starter late in his rookie season. McAdoo offered to allow Manning to start the game and play briefly if he wanted to keep the streak alive, but Manning said he didn’t think that would be right.
“Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” Manning said. “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. Like I always have, I will be ready to play if and when I am needed. I will help Geno and Davis prepare to play as well as they possibly can.”
The Giants have been eliminated from playoff contention, and now they’re in full-on rebuilding mode, with their franchise quarterback taking a seat.