New York Giants Believe Geno Smith Could Be Eli Manning’s Successor
The New York Giants will need to find Eli Manning’s heir apparent sooner than most would like to admit. Could Geno Smith be the answer?
The New York Giants are approaching a turning point that will redefine the organization. Eli Manning has been the NFL’s resident iron man for upwards of a decade, but his career is much closer to the end than most would like to admit.
Though the signing of embattled quarterback Geno Smith was a seemingly inconsequential decision, the Giants have high expectations for the new addition.
New York signed Smith to a one-year contract that carries a cap hit of just under $1.1 million. It’s something of a prove-it deal for Smith, who underwhelmed during his first four NFL seasons with the New York Jets.
According to Jordan Raanan and Mike Reiss of ESPN, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo believes that Smith could capitalize on this opportunity and become Manning’s heir apparent.
"“I can’t see why not,” McAdoo said when asked about Smith being the Giants’ long-term replacement for Manning, before conceding they’re a long way from that happening.”"
That’s far from a commitment to Smith, but McAdoo is aware of Manning’s mortality and is open to the possibility of grooming his replacement.
Smith was once projected as the No. 1 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, but slipped down draft boards to No. 39 overall. During his rookie season, Mark Sanchez’s shoulder injury opened the door for a new starter to emerge.
During his 16 appearances, Smith amassed 3,046 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions on a completion percentage of 55.8.
Smith also ran for 366 yards and six touchdowns, thus bringing his tally to 3,112 total yards and 18 total touchdowns from scrimmage.
During his second NFL season, Smith tallied 2,525 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions on a completion percentage of 59.7. He added 238 rushing yards and a touchdown, but the most noteworthy improvement was in his efficiency as a passer.
Unfortunately, a fractured jaw kept Smith out during the early weeks of the 2015 season and thus enabled Ryan Fitzpatrick to win the starting job. Smith replaced Fitzpatrick as the starter in 2016, but suffered a torn ACL shortly thereafter.
Per Raanan and Reiss, McAdoo is excited to get his shot at helping the 26-year-old realize his potential.
"“I find it very exciting. A guy that has his skill set is hard to find,” McAdoo said. “You can’t find guys out there that have that type of arm strength, talent, throwing motion and feet to go with it. And he’s a competitor. It’s exciting to bring a guy and work with a guy like that.“And you see where you can take him.”"
Nothing is set in stone, but McAdoo appears intent on giving Smith a legitimate opportunity to prove his long-term value.
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Geno Smith is committed to learning from Eli Manning, but could he be the player who succeeds the New York Giants legend? Only time will tell.