Backup Quarterback

On Monday, New York Giants owner John Mara announced the firing of head coach Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese. On the surface, the move seemed to be a direct response to the mishandled benching of QB Eli Manning and the resulting outrage expressed by the media, current and former teammates of Manning’s and especially the fans, but at the core of the poor decision was starting backup quarterback Geno Smith in place of Eli. Interim coach, Steve Spagnuolo has announced that Manning will rightfully resume his role as starter against the Cowboys on Sunday.

If we are to believe any of the explanation put forth by McAdoo to justify his decision, that he felt Geno was a better fit for his game plan, then it was further proof of his incompetence. Still, there are some individuals, including the local press and even a couple of current teammates who feel that Geno was not given a fair chance to win the starting job. I agree that he was made a scapegoat in the mess that was created by Mara, McAdoo and Reese, but there are some Geno apologists who have gone so far as to suggest that his poor performance, against a Raiders team that seemed to do everything they could to lose the game, earned him the right to get more playing time.

What has been mostly lost in this whole morass is the basic understanding of the role of the backup quarterback. The backup QB is the last resort, “break glass and pull lever in case of emergency” option if your starting QB goes down and can’t play. He is not your future…you do not create a game plan to suit him, and you certainly don’t bench your legendary, beloved two-time Super Bowl hero to give him a look. The evaluation process was completed in the preseason when Geno won the backup QB spot. The other crime is that the potential QB of the future, Davis Webb, has not been available to come into a game to date. However, when he is ready to start, it’s very simple: Webb is the starting QB and Geno Smith is the backup.


For now, Eli is back where he belongs. I hope the Giants are motivated to defeat the hated Cowboys. After that, let’s take a look at Webb and find Geno a comfortable seat on the bench.



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