QB Geno Smith will start for the Giants Sunday in Oakland:
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - "I know I'm ready."
With that declaration, Geno Smith today became the Giants' first different starting quarterback in 13 years. The team announced today that Smith will start Sunday against the Raiders in Oakland. He replaces Eli Manning, who started 210 consecutive regular-season games, the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history.
"We're confident that we can put a plan together to put Geno in a position to be successful and go win the game," coach Ben McAdoo said.
McAdoo informed the quarterbacks this morning of his decision. Rookie Davis Webb will also get an opportunity play at some point in the season's final five games.
"Each and every week our number one job is to win a football game," McAdoo said. "We're 2-9 right now. We have five left to play. We're out of contention and our number one job is to still win football games. But it's my responsibility to make sure we have a complete evaluation of the roster, top to bottom. Especially at the quarterback position moving on to next season and with that, we're going to start Geno this week and give him an opportunity to show what he can do."
"I'm always excited to have an opportunity to play, but there's no major reaction – didn't throw a party or anything," Smith said. "Just went to work. Got into the classroom, started watching Oakland and just preparing."
Smith, who joined the team as a free agent in March, has thrown just two passes this season, near the end of a lopsided loss to the Rams on Nov. 5. He spent his four NFL seasons with the Jets, for whom he was the starter in his first two years.
Smith, who is 12-18 as a starter, has completed 501 of 866 passes (57.9%) for 5,962 yards, 28 touchdowns and 36 interceptions for a passer rating of 72.4. He also had 135 rushing attempts for 647 yards (4.8-yard average) and seven touchdowns.
His most recent start was for the Jets on Oct. 23, 2016 vs. Baltimore. He completed four of eight passes for 95 yards before suffering a torn ACL in the second quarter that ended his season.
Smith beat out Josh Johnson for the backup job in training camp. Except for his brief appearance against Los Angeles, he has not played in a game this season. But Smith was not shocked at his sudden promotion.
Photos of Giants quarterback Geno Smith
"I've been in this situation before, honestly," he said. "Just last year. I went through the same things, so you kind of have to expect everything. You can never be too sure. As we all know, this is a business. It's a tough business. Anything can happen, and no one's job is 100 percent secure. Injuries happen. Things happen and you got to just continue to roll with the punches and for me, it's a great opportunity. Great opportunity to go out there. Had a year to get healthy. I've had time to learn the system and learn the guys, so it's a great opportunity. I look forward to it."
Will Smith face additional pressure as the first quarterback other than Manning to start for the Giants since Kurt Warner on Nov. 14, 2004?
"I'm not sure," he said. "But I don't really view it that way. I don't really look at any outside pressure. It can't be applied to me. I want to go out there and I want to win for these guys. I want to play hard for my teammates, and I want to play hard for the organization. I think it's important for us to kind of get some things going and I think it's going to be a great opportunity."
Smith has great respect for Manning and, as someone who lost his starting job, tremendous empathy for him this week.
"I know he's hurting," Smith said. "I've been through it and I wasn't a 10-year starter. It hurt me the same way, so I know what it's like and I know it's tough and I just always continue to reiterate to him that I'm in his corner. I've said that from day one and he said the same thing to me. That means a lot.
"I told him I support him. I told him I have a ton of respect for him. When I came here, I've said that all along, this guy has done a tremendous job in this league, done a bunch of things for this organization. None of that can ever be taken away or forgotten, and this is a business, man. It's tough and my number is up, so it's my time to go out there and do what I'm supposed to do and make sure that I get the job done."