The New York Giants announced that former New York Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith will replace Eli Manning as their starter this weekend.
Smith will become the first quarterback in NFL history to start a game for both the Jets and Giants in his career when New York plays the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
The Giants made the move after a 2-9 start to the 2017 season. That’s the third-worst record in the league, though only two games worse than the Jets’ 4-7 record. The G-men’s only wins came over Denver (3-8) and Kansas City (6-5).
Manning has not had a horrible season statistically speaking. He’s thrown for 2,411 yards (6.1 per attempt) and completed 62.5 percent of his throws with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
But Manning will end his streak of 210 consecutive games started for the Giants, even though he says he had the option to continue it.
“Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” Manning told reporters. “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.”
The Giants seem to think they need to see what they have in Smith, who has 58 total pass attempts over the last three seasons. Jets fans would probably argue there isn’t much to see in the mercurial quarterback.
Smith has proven during his Jets tenure that he doesn’t have franchise quarterback traits. The 2013 second-round pick went 12-18 as the Jets’ starter from 2013-16, but eventually lost his job to Ryan Fitzpatrick in 2015 after being infamously sucker-punched by IK Enemkpali in training camp.
Smith has completed only 57.7 percent of his passes during his career and has thrown for 5,962 yards, 28 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. Luckily for Smith, Oakland’s secondary is one of the worst in the league and just earned its first interception of the season last weekend against Denver. The Raiders have allowed 245 passing yards per game this season, so Smith’s matchup is at least favorable.
What isn’t favorable is the weaponry around Smith, but he’s accustomed to having lousy pieces to work with. Odell Beckham Jr., and Brandon Marshall were both lost for the season. The Giants’ top remaining target, Sterling Shepard, missed last week’s game with migraines and his status is uncertain for Sunday. Tight end Evan Engram could be a star in the making, but can be inflicted with the “dropsies.” The Giants haven’t had a running game since Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw graced the backfield earlier in the decade.
This all could spell doom against a Raiders team fighting to make a run at the AFC West crown. A trip to the “Black Hole,” isn’t easy either. Smith is actually 2-1 against the Raiders in his career, but lost his only road outing against them. That game was in 2015, when Smith was forced to enter the game after Fitzpatrick exited early with an injury. Smith threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns, but the Jets lost 34-20.