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Spagnuolo keeps Eli as starting QB for Week 15

Posted Dec 11, 2017

Eli Manning will start for the Giants in Week 15 against the Eagles:


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Steve Spagnuolo is sticking with Eli Manning as the Giants’ starting quarterback.

“Absolutely,” Spagnuolo said said at a news conference today. “That’s a pretty safe assessment.”

So is the notion that it’s exactly what Manning wants.

“Always want to be out there and go see if we can go get a win,” Manning said.  

Manning will start at home on Sunday against the 11-2 Philadelphia Eagles. Last week, in one of his first acts as coach, Spagnuolo returned Manning to the starting lineup, one week after the quarterback streak of 210 consecutive regular-season starts ended when Geno Smith started in a loss in Oakland.

Yesterday, Manning played the entire game in a 30-10 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys. He completed 31 of 46 passes for 228 yards, one touchdown, and two late interceptions. Spagnuolo praised Manning’s performance and said his value extended beyond the numbers.

“I thought Eli played really good football, real solid,” Spagnuolo said. “Watched the film. Got us in and out of some things that probably only he can do, because he’s pretty special that way. I’m sure he’ll tell you there’s a couple of throws he would like back and that’s probably true of any game. And every quarterback, when you’re down one score (as the Giants were midway through the fourth quarter) probably feels like I want to bring the team back and get there and that didn’t happen, so I’m sure he’s disappointed in that.”

The Giants’s receiving corps has been severely depleted by injuries. The Giants were outscored in the fourth quarter, 20-0, and at his postgame news conference, Manning conceded that, “we just don’t have that firepower to finish these games.”

How can they manufacture it in their last three games?

“I think you just have to make the plays that are there to be made,” Manning said. “Sometimes, we’re doing some good things, I thought yesterday we had a good game plan, getting the ball out fast, finding completions. We’re not getting many explosive plays, but we’ve got to find ways to make the plays that are there. If we get to third and manageable, we’ve got to make some throws, make some catches, just do some of those things right. We don’t maybe have the guys that can catch a short one and take it 80 yards, but we have guys that can make plays and do things, and we’ve got to stay in good down and distance and just execute the opportunities that we do have.”

Though it sounds like Spagnuolo is committed to Manning, he was not prepared to announce that the 14-year veteran will start for the remainder of the season.

“I’m on the week by week and let’s win the next game,” Spagnuolo said. “To beat the Philadelphia Eagles right now, Eli Manning is the starting quarterback and I don’t feel that changing. But I don’t know what next week is going to bring.”

*Safety Landon Collins has started all 46 games since his arrival as a second-round draft choice in 2015, but that streak could be in jeopardy. Collins yesterday sprained his ankle, which had bothered him for much of the season.

“We got to find out a little bit more on Landon,” Spagnuolo said. “But he’s going to tell you he’s going to play all the time, which is what he just told me. We’ll see as the week goes and how much work we can get out of him. But he’s a little gimpy right now.”

Spagnuolo was asked about the possibility of keeping Collins out of the season’s final three games.

“Not until I know 100 percent what he’s dealing with here.” Spagnuolo said. “It sounds like from Ronnie (Barnes, the team’s senior vice president of medical services) that it’s a re-injury of what he’s been dealing with something all year long. The thing you have to be careful with Landon is sometimes you got to protect Landon from himself (because he is so reluctant to come off the field).”

*Spagnuolo fielded questions on two very different subjects concerning cornerback Eli Apple. The first was why the second-year pro was inactive yesterday. The second was on Apple tweeting during the game.

“I talked with Eli before the game when we deactivated him,” Spagnuolo said. “He sat in my office and I said, ‘Look, we need to get you going. Everybody wants you here helping us out, but this wasn’t the week to do it.’ He didn’t get enough reps during the week. He did get some on Friday. I just didn’t think it was enough to have him ready to do the things we were going to do in the defensive game plan and he understood that. The goal there as we shook hands and hugged was let’s get you up and running next week.”

Regarding the tweeting, Spagnuolo said, “I had a conversation with Eli about that. I was disappointed. I told him I was disappointed. We’ll decide exactly what we’ll do with it, but it was disappointing. He apologized and we’ll move on.”

*Offensive lineman Justin Pugh, who has missed four games with a back injury, will see another doctor on Wednesday. That examination could determine whether Pugh returns to the field this season.

*The Giants roster tinkering continued today. Wide receiver Darius Powe, who broke his foot in his NFL debut yesterday, was placed on injured reserve. Powe, signed off the practice squad last week, caught two passes for 13 yards– but said he suffered the injury on the first of those receptions in the first half.

*Defensive tackle Khyri Thornton was waived. He was signed by the Giants on Nov. 29 and was inactive for the two games he was with the team.

*The Denver Broncos signed tight end Matt LaCosse off the Giants’ practice squad. LaCosse played in three games this season (at Denver and vs. Seattle and the Rams), but did not have a reception. He was released on Nov. 11 and signed three days later to the practice squad. LaCosse was first signed by the Giants as a rookie free agent in 2015. That year, he played in two games and had his only three NFL receptions, at Minnesota on Dec. 27.

*The Giants terminated the practice squad contract of linebacker Trevor Bates, who had been with the team since Oct. 31.