Eli Manning still wants to play somewhere next season

By Patricia Traina, The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 5, 2017 at 12:34 AM
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning doesn't know what the future has in store for him. But one thing he does know is that he wants to play somewhere in 2018.

Might that somewhere be with the Giants, the only team he has played for since being acquired via trade with the Chargers in 2004?

Manning wouldn't say, instead trying to keep the focus on finishing out the rest of this miserable 2017 season.

"There's no point," he said after Sunday's game. "Can't control what's gonna happen, so finish out we've got four games left, finish out this season in whatever capacity they need me to do and go from there."

Manning reiterated that he understood the team's desire to see what it has in quarterbacks Geno Smith, who started and played the whole game Sunday, and Davis Webb, who was inactive.

"I'm not mad at anybody," he said. "I think when you're in this situation, whatever happens there's a reason and you have to accept it."

He also stressed he wasn't upset with head coach Ben McAdoo, who has been perceived by many people as having mishandled the presentation of the situation.

"I think Coach McAdoo tried to do something right by me by saying we'll let you play, but just knowing I was coming out of the game, I couldn't play that way," he said.

"I appreciated it. I thought he was trying to do me a favor. But it's just not the way I could go into a game, knowing I would be pulled out. So, I appreciate him, I appreciate them kind of giving me that option, but I think they understood when I said I couldn't do it that way."

While Manning admitted that the week had been hard, he said he was reminded about the importance of being a good teammate when he received an outpouring of support from former teammates as well as fellow NFL brethren both past and present from around the league.

"I think the fact the amount of people that reached out to me this week, the importance of being a teammate really kind of hit home just through the fact that all the old teammates that have reached out to me," he said.

"I appreciate their support, I appreciate the things they say and it's kind of helped me get through these tough days. But it reminded me I need to be a good teammate to everybody here and do my part."

--All things considered, Geno Smith had a decent enough regular-season debut for the Giants Sunday.

Smith finished with 21 completions out of 34 pass attempts for 212 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked three times and also had two lost fumbles deep in Raiders territory, including one he lost inside of the 10-yard line.

So why was Smith so livid after the game?

Apparently, he was upset by a comment made by his former head coach, Rex Ryan, now an analyst for ESPN, who during an appearance on NFL Countdown, said that while he loved Smith and that he was a "great guy," Ryan added, "I just don't want him playing quarterback for me."

Smith took exception to Ryan's comment.

"I did see one of my ex-coaches say he didn't want me to be his quarterback, and that really upset me," Smith said. "For a guy that we saved his job in 2013, we fought our (butt) off for him both years -- for him to come out and say that just shows you how much of a coward he is."

Smith wasn't done.

"First of all, he drafted me. Second, he started me. Third, I gave you everything I had, then you go out and say that," Smith said. "It's unfortunate."

Smith was the Jets' second-round pick in 2013. He was their starter for two seasons, posting a 12-18 record in games he started.

However, Smith's time with the Jets was tumultuous at best. On the field, he was wildly inconsistent, completing 57.9 percent of his passes with 28 touchdowns to 36 interceptions.

He also was the victim of a locker-room scuffle in which he suffered a broken jaw after being sucker punched by former teammate IK Enemkpali, a linebacker.

Smith signed with the Giants this offseason on a one-year prove-it deal. He has kept a low profile until now, having been thrust into the spotlight as the team's starting quarterback Sunday after the team benched Eli Manning.

REPORT CARD VS. RAIDERS

--PASSING OFFENSE: B -- Geno Smith's Giants debut wasn't horrible. He moved the chains well, and completed 61.7 percent of his pass attempts for 212 yards and one touchdown. His protection wasn't the greatest as he was sacked three times, twice losing a fumble. Still, Smith, who also rushed for 13 yards on three carries (4.3 average), showed a good command of the huddle and seemed to connect well with his receivers despite throwing a harder ball than Eli Manning.

--RUSHING OFFENSE: C-minus -- The Giants are desperately missing D.J. Fluker's blocking in the running game, as ever since he went down with a season-ending toe injury, the rushing game has struggled. Blocking tight end Rhett Ellison had his share of troubles in his one-on-one battles with his man, leaving RB Orleans Darkwa to pick up the majority of his 32 yards after contact.

--PASS DEFENSE: C - Raiders quarterback Derek Carr didn't exactly burn the Giants with his arm, save for a 59-yard completion to Cordarrelle Patterson, but don't be surprised if the Giants' pass rushing tandem of Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon show up on the side of a milk carton in the coming days. The two mustered five pressures between them and no sacks. That's not good enough production considering their earnings.

--RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus -- The Raiders had little success running up the gut unless they were running Marshawn Lynch out there. Not surprisingly, the overmatched Giants' linebackers struggled to get Lynch to the ground. But the more alarming development was how the Raiders exploited the Giants' run defense on the edges.

--SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- There were no major mishaps on special teams this week, and in fact those units made a huge play when Shane Smith burst through the line to stop Raiders punter Marquette King from kicking the ball deep in his own territory. But how unlucky were the Giants in not coming up with a loose ball muffed by Raiders punt returner Jalen Richard? Kalif Raymond, meanwhile, proved he is a much better cover guy than he is a return specialist, where he only managed two returns for 32 yards this week.

--COACHING: F -- So what exactly changed after making the switch from Eli Manning to Geno Smith? What new information was gleaned about the quarterbacks that wasn't already known, especially since Davis Webb, the supposed future, was inactive? Ben McAdoo's handling of the whole situation and his lack of remorse is a travesty and likely sealed his fate. And what about the plan that was supposed to be in place to help Smith succeed? Leaving two offensive tackles with no help against the Raiders' pass rushers, especially Chad Wheeler against Khalil Mack? Or how about the failure to kick the ball out of the end zone to keep it out of Cordarrelle Patterson's hands? Bottom line, there were too many questionable decisions made by this coaching staff once again.

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