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Ben McAdoo: “Tough” decision to bench Eli Manning “right for the team”

What did the Giants’ coach have to say after practice Wednesday?

NFL: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

For the second day in a row New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo addressed the media after his stunning, and widely criticized, decision to bench franchise quarterback Eli Manning.

While the team is preparing to take on the Oakland Raiders, all the questions were about the Giants’ quarterback situation.

On Eli Manning

One of the first questions for McAdoo was, predictably, about the response of the team to the demotion of Eli Manning. McAdoo’s response was also probably predictable.

“I think we had good day at practice,” he said. “A lot of energy out there today. They were flying around, caught a great day for it. It’s obviously emotional. A lot of reactions out there. I get the reactions and I understand the emotions. I understand the responses. It’s been a tough couple days. We feel we have to put our emotions aside and make the best decision for the New York Football Giants and I’m at peace with the decision.”

About how Manning, specifically, has handled the last two days, McAdoo had nothing but praise, saying,

“Eli – he’s a pro. He’s a Hall of Famer, tremendous teammate and competitor and he showed up today doing everything he can do to help the other quarterbacks and the offense and the team get better and have a chance to win on Sunday.”

McAdoo reiterated that he empathizes with Manning, saying that the decision was not personal

“Like I said, it’s tough. It’s hard. No one expected us to be where we are right now, including me. I’m disappointed that we’re here, but with that being said, we got to move forward.”

On Geno Smith

“Geno looked sharp today. He’s working hard at it. The communication part of things are early and the down when the ball is snapped – he knows where he wants to go with the ball. He’s decisive and I’m excited to watch him play,” McAdoo said of his new starting quarterback.

One of the biggest changes for the Giants is gameplanning with a mobile quarterback in mind. McAdoo believes that they’ll be able to put together a plan for a quarterback not named Eli Manning.

“We feel confident that we can put a plan in place to have Geno be successful on Sunday and for our team to have an opportunity to win.”

While McAdoo said that they could put a plan in place for Smith to give the Giants a chance to win, he rankled a bit at the suggestion that Smith gave them their best chance to win.

“Don’t put words in my mouth.” he said, “I didn’t say that. I said that I feel we have a game plan in place where we feel Geno can give us a chance to be successful and win the ball game on Sunday.”

“The game plan is based off of all of our players on offense and the quarterback drives it,” he added.

“I’ve watched a lot of Geno previously,” McAdoo said. “I evaluated him coming out. Obviously, I saw his Jets film. That was part of bringing him in here. He’s a talented player with a big arm. He can create. I want to see him run the offense, complete the ball, put points on the board and give us a chance to win.”

On Davis Webb

The move to bench Manning was shocking. The fact that it was for veteran Geno Smith and not rookie Davis Webb was frustrating for many. It was assumed when he was drafted that Webb was taken with an eye toward the future, but he has yet to dress for a game.

One of the positives on Webb coming out of college was his reputation as a film junkie. McAdoo said Wednesday that he has continued the habit in the NFL.

“Davis is – he immerses himself in the preparation studying the opponent,” McAdoo said. “Does a lot of film study, does a lot of looking outside of the breakdown for unique clips, especially of players we’re playing. So, he’s into the preparation each and every week and we’ll tailor that more and more as he gets an opportunity down the road to game plan.”

“Davis does a tremendous job preparing each and every week” he added. “He prepares like he’s going to play in the game. He goes through the same meetings, the same rituals that the other quarterbacks go through. He’s studying the opponent. He goes above and beyond and puts together the Saturday morning study where he goes through and studies film, clips outside of the breakdown and does a lot of research that way. So, he’s prepared.”

McAdoo did confirm that Webb remains the third quarterback and that his practice reps haven’t changed. He also added that the rookie would get his chance for evaluation on the field, saying, “We’re going to take one week at a time and at some point in time, like I said, Davis will get his opportunity.”