New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo insinuated Geno Smith as more creative than Eli Manning. Hence the switch at quarterback.
Say hello to Big Boo!
Was McAdoo being facetious?
So… a flop of a draft pick picked up off the free-agent scrap heap is more innovative than a two-time Super Bowl winner?
Granted, Manning is nearly 10 years the senior of Smith, yet it’s safe to say the elder statesman has more creativity dead asleep than his younger counterpart. What exactly can Smith show the football world he hasn’t already? More turnovers?
This latest bizarre occurrence for the downtrodden G-Men is one of a myriad of reasons the Oakland Raiders have no business losing this Sunday. And if they do, owner Mark Davis should personally march down to the field, meet Jack Del Rio midfield and personally hand the head coach his pink slip.
“You can’t win two in a row if you don’t win one,” Del Rio said. “So for us, rather than think about the whole of it, all that needs to happen in a season or last month, what we want to think about is preparing the best we can and going out and being ready to compete this week against the Giants.”
Fortunately for Oakland, facing the “Geno Giants” is exponentially better than the “Eli Giants.”
Manning hasn’t been great by any means, but the perception of his benching is: Big Blue’s lost 2017 season lies squarely on the quarterback’s shoulders. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Nearly every facet of the Giants roster (2-9 overall) is in ruin. Injuries have decimated the offense and the defense is barely there. Big Blue has no air attack and ground and pound to speak of due to injuries and unsurprising ineffectiveness. And turnover-prone Smith is the answer?
The Giants are ranked 31st in points scored (172, 15.6 per game) and are only ahead of the perpetually pathetic Cleveland Browns (166, 15.1). New York totaled 17 touchdowns (14 passing, three rushing) in its 11 games. Defensively, the Giants are 22nd in the league in points allowed (267, 24.3 per game).
But hang on, the dilapidated G-Men did best the Kansas City Chiefs 12-9 just two weeks ago and are 2-1 this year against the AFC West.
Guess who the quarterback was? It wasn’t Geno.
Even without top receivers Michael Crabtree (suspended) and (presumably) Amari Cooper (ankle injury and concussion protocol), Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has an actual offensive line, a decent run game, and a reliable tight end to play with. Carr spread the ball around to nine different receivers last Sunday and the trio tasked with replacing Crab and Coop — Seth Roberts, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Johnny Holton — combined for seven grabs and 151 yards. More importantly, zero drops.
Under John Pagano’s watch, Oakland’s defense played fast and furious to the tune of five sacks and an interception. That kind of ferocity and focus is a must against happy-feet Smith as his brittle mental makeup is prime to shatter in the face of a consistent pass rush.
Oakland is not the paragon of a consistent football team, by any means. And that’s why the possibility of a truly embarrassing loss remains. There are no cakewalks in the NFL, even though matchups appear lopsided.
“Guys just got to step up, it’s not different if someone were to go down with an injury or whatnot, next player has to step up and fill that void,” said Raiders tight end Jared Cook. “We just go to get this offense to keep moving, and keep moving forward, so it’s more collective than individual right now.”
Sounds exactly like the opposite take McAdoo and the Giants brass are taking. Anointing Smith as the starter sure seems like it’s about an individual than the collective, no?
The football Gods are doing their best to stack this game in Oakland’s favor. First the quarterback switch and then steady cornerback Janoris Jenkins landing on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
The Raiders keep catching breaks.
Can they seize the moment?
“It’s not about taking no more, or trying to do too much, it’s just about doing your job. So whatever they ask of me, whatever they want me to do, that’s what I’m here for is to do my job, and to do it well,” Cook said.
The Raiders job is plain and simple: Beat the Giants.
Then and only then, can Oakland prep and look forward to an AFC West Showdown in Kansas City with the Chiefs.