Ben McAdoo spoke to the media three times since he benched Eli Manning. John Mara spoke once. Jerry Reese, of course, didn't speak at all.
Mara and McAdoo used a lot of words, too. It's just hard to make sense of most of them.
In fact, there are so many unanswered questions from this hard-to-understand, completely botched, undignified quarterback switch from Manning to Geno Smith, it's really hard to know where to start.
But I'll start with these:
Wasn't there a better way to do this?
Answer: Of course there was.
First of all, it didn't have to be right now. The Giants don't need five games to evaluate Davis Webb. And they didn't have to hand the ball to Geno Smith, who can't possibly be a serious contender for their starting quarterback job next year. But if they really, truly felt the need to look at the young quarterbacks, why didn't they address this with Manning weeks ago. They were 1-6 at the trading deadline. They were hemorrhaging players. The season was already a train wreck. They couldn't foresee then a day where they might want to look at the young quarterbacks?
The media did, because we asked. They should've sat Manning down then and said they might do it, ask him how he might want it handled, see if he'd want a trade or his release, give him some time to digest it. Anything, really, instead of springing the awful play-a-half, sit-a-half plan they sprung on him and expected him to accept overnight.
Speaking of … Did they really think Manning - or any sane quarterback - would accept that dumb plan?
Answer: Apparently yes, but really? Actually, I'm not sure McAdoo or Reese cared, and it sounds like Mara thought the plan wasn't really a half-half split. He also naively thought Manning would be OK with token starts regardless of the details. But Manning is classier than that, and they had to know it. Also, they had to know it couldn't work. Apparently Manning brought that point up to them. What happens if he's playing lights-out at halftime and they're winning? Was McAdoo going to head to the locker room and say "OK fellas, great work today. You won the half. Eli, thanks for playing. Geno, go warm up"? Well, I guess it's better than "Ummmmm …"
If the half-and-half plan that was conveyed to Manning by McAdoo wasn't the plan Mara signed off on, why didn't he stop it?
Answer: Good question. He should have. Maybe the train had already left the station - not to mention the rails - when McAdoo had his conversation with Manning and the quarterback shot him down. Mara said he was out of the office and was only able to reach Manning by text. Why didn't he return to the office? Or why didn't he call McAdoo and scream "What did you do?!?" Mara could've stopped the nonsense and taken the "pause" he said he considered until he could return to the office and made sure everyone was on the same page. After all, was one more day going to create more chaos then they had already created? No.
Why Geno Smith? Why not just wait until Davis Webb was ready?
Answer: That's absolutely what they should have done, unless they really think Smith is their Quarterback of the Future - in which case they should've said that and then give him all of the last five games. Multiple team sources said this is really about Webb, but he's not ready. So they should've bumped him up to No. 2 and all the extra practice reps that come with that, and waited a few weeks until he was up to speed. They could've even told Manning now, to give him time to come to grips with his fate. Fans might have been a little more understanding, too, since they know Webb has a chance to be the starter next year.
So why isn't Webb ready?
Answer: Coaching malpractice. Really. Again, the fact that this season has gone off a cliff is not a recent development. At 1-5 or 1-6, when we all started asking if they intended to play Webb, someone should've decided to start increasing his practice workload just in case. There would've been no harm. Smith could've still been the No. 2 on game days, but maybe they could've split the second-team work in practice. If nothing else, that should've happened when Mara and Reese first discussed the possible switch a couple of weeks ago. And the fact that it didn't happen this week - after everyone insisted Webb will play at some point this year - is just sheer incompetence from the top down. Unless they're all lying, which I suppose with this regime you can't rule out.
Is that all?
Answer: No. But my head hurts. Stay tuned for Unanswered Questions, Part II …