Two weeks shy of the 27th anniversary of Jeff Hostetler taking over at quarterback for the Giants, another Mountaineer will get the chance to line up behind center for New York.
The Giants have had a rocky season on offense, losing their two best receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall. They have scored 17 points or less in six games this season and have yet to score more than 24. They currently have 19 players on Injured Reserve (including J.T. Thomas). Turmoil within the locker room has led to discontent with the coaching staff. Head coach Ben McAdoo’s job status for the future is murky at best.
Manning is 37 years of age and has two years remaining on his contract, and until this week, owned the second-longest streak of starts for a quarterback (270).
“Geno will start this week,” McAdoo said. “Over the last five games, we will take a look at Geno, and we will also give Davis (Webb) an opportunity.”
The Giants selected Webb in the third round out of Cal of the most recent NFL Draft.
Now the Giants will turn to Smith. The Giants signed him to a one-year $1.2 million contract this past offseason. Don’t expect Smith to summon the spirit of Hostetler and lead the G-Men on another Super Bowl run. At 2-9, New York has been eliminated from the playoffs.
As I watched the NFL pregame show on FOX this past Sunday, they interviewed journeyman quarterback Case Keenum. Dana Holgorsen mentored Keenum in 2008-2009 while Keenum played college ball with Houston. He went on to set several NCAA passing records. Keenum went undrafted in 2012 before signing with the Houston Texans. He bounced between Houston and the Rams organization over the next several seasons before signing as a backup in Minnesota. With Teddy Bridgewater still recovering from knee surgery and Sam Bradford going down with yet another injury, Keenum took over as the Vikings’ signal-caller and has played very well, leading the team to a 9-2 record.
I watched the segment and interview with Keenum, I thought of Smith. When he was drafted, we as Mountaineer fans hoped Smith would be as brilliant with the Jets as he was with the Mountaineers. Things, as you know, didn’t work out well with the Jets. Now he is on his second team, and like Keenum, could move on to his third this offseason.
Knowing the declining situation with the Giants, I figured this moment would come for Smith. With little to play for, and Manning getting up in years (yes, that is an odd thing for me to write as I am the same age as Eli), it makes sense for the Giants staff to see what they have in Smith and Webb.
Smith gets to show what he has learned while backing up Manning. With only five games remaining in the Giants’ season and on his contract, this is a golden opportunity for Smith.
The Giants will likely have a very high draft pick in the quarterback rich 2018 NFL Draft. Perhaps that is where they will find their quarterback of the future. Perhaps their next QB is preparing to make his first start for them this weekend. Or, perhaps Smith will play well enough to start for another team next season as there will be many looking for a new quarterback.
Who is up first for Smith? He’ll see a few familiar faces line up across from him in Bruce Irvin and Karl Joseph as the Giants will take on the Raiders at 4:05 ET on FOX on Sunday.