Eli Manning is clearly diminished, to put it kindly, so who do the New York Giants have as his backup?
Since taking over as the starter in November of 2004, Eli Manning has started every game for the New York Giants except one. That includes two Super Bowl wins, and three seasons where he’s thrown the most interceptions in the league, and it’s been a remarkable streak of durability.
After a down 2017 campaign, with 3,468 yards (231.1 yards per game), 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 2015, the Giants chose to take Saquon Barkley with the second overall pick in April’s draft rather than draft Manning’s successor. That win-now move will stick with the Giants for the next decade-plus, assuming Sam Darnold (third overall to the Jets) turns into a franchise quarterback.
Manning carried decent-looking numbers into Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, completing 71.7 percent of his passes for 1,381 yards (276.2 per game). But the eye test shows something different, and wide receiver Odell Beckham (however publicly, and oddly) addressed the shortcomings of his quarterback heading into the Giants’ Week 5 game.
Manning’s start streak ended last year, and the move to Geno Smith helped get former head coach Ben McAdoo fired. This time around, if Pat Shurmur had a good option he might consider going to it.
So who is Eli Manning’s backup?
The Giants did draft a quarterback this year, taking Kyle Lauletta in the fourth round (No. 108 overall). He made 36 starts at Richmond in the FCS, and started the pre-draft process by winning MVP of the Senior Bowl. He won a training camp battle for the No. 2 job with Davis Webb, a third-round pick in 2017 (No. 87 overall) who never got into a game as a rookie. Alex Tanney is No. 3 on the depth chart, and has been active for a couple games this season.
It will probably take an injury to bench Manning, even with the Giants headed to 1-5 as Thursday night’s game winds down. But with the punishment he’s taking at 37 years old, including four sacks and 12 credited hits on him as the fourth quarter rolls on Thursday night, that point may not be far away.