For all the things Ben McAdoo and John Mara said (and Jerry Reese didn't) they certainly didn't clear up everything about the benching of Eli Manning. They left a lot to the imagination - too much for a decision this big.
Earlier, I ran through some of the many unanswered questions from this hard-to-understand, completely botched, undignified quarterback decision.
And yes, I still have a few more:
Why were McAdoo and Reese allowed to make a decision this big about the Giants' future, when they're no lock to be part of that future?
Answer: That is a tremendous question (if I do say so myself). Mara said he initiated the conversation with Reese about looking at young quarterbacks, but Reese and McAdoo were already discussing it. A few weeks later they came to him with their stupid half-and-half plan, and Mara signed off on it (presumably with at least some input from co-owner Steve Tisch). It's good that Mara had to approve something this big, but why is he even taking suggestions from Reese and McAdoo right now, with their fates undecided? If he makes a change at the end of the season and the new GM and coach decide Manning gives them the best chance to win, then this whole mess was for nothing. I know Reese and McAdoo want to pretend its business as usual and they've got the long-term best interests of the Giants at heart, but business is not usual. If Mara is willing to start over by benching Manning, maybe he should've benched his GM and coach too and really approached this with a clean slate.
What do McAdoo and Reese have against Manning?
Answer: In hindsight, no one should've been surprised by this. McAdoo especially, and Reese to an extent, have been dropping hints about their displeasure with Manning for more than a year. It's no secret to those that work in the Giants organization that both men think the quarterback is responsible for a lot of their recent failures.
The feeling is a younger, stronger-armed, more mobile quarterback would do better. Maybe. But that, of course, belies their total failure to realize that Manning is their franchise quarterback and they should've built an offense - scheme and personnel - to suit him. It's not enough to defend the indefensible offensive line and believe that a more mobile quarterback would be better at escaping trouble and extending plays. No kidding. But perhaps they should've realized Manning's mobility limitations and, you know, gotten better offensive linemen. They'll never take the blame for that, though, nor will they ever publicly say what they seem to truly feel (at least not passive-aggressively). But there's no doubt anywhere that they have been looking forward to this day for a while.
McAdoo said he hasn't spoken to Mara "recently". Really? About something this significant?
Answer: It's already a big mystery why Mara wouldn't make this move wait until he could do it in person. But now that the master plan seemed to get garbled in a massive game of telephone from owner to GM to coach, how come McAdoo and Mara never spoke directly even though this has been brewing for at least a few weeks? I get their love of organizational structure and a military-like hierarchy. Mara wanted to speak to Reese, who then spoke to the coach. That's admirable most of the time. But they work in the same office. This wasn't important enough for Mara to go down the hall and say, "Ben, are you sure? I mean really, really sure?"
Why just bench Manning? If they're really evaluating players for the future, why not bench others and experiment a little more?
Answer: Because this is obviously all about the quarterback, let's not pretend otherwise. But if they want to keep the fantasy going that everyone is being evaluated, why is Ereck Flowers slated to start at left tackle on Sunday? Put Chad Wheeler over there. Or activate sixth-round pick Adam Bisnowaty from his exile on the practice squad. Give running back Wayne Gallman the start over Orleans Darkwa and let him have the lion's share of the carries. Who needs to see more of Sterling Shepard? Give Travis Rudolph all the reps at the No. 1 receiver spot. Less JPP and Olivier Vernon and much more Avery Moss. Rest Evan Engram and see if Jerell Adams has anything to give. Of course none of that is likely to happen because they're really not interested in evaluating everybody. This is all about one man.
Why would Mara and Reese let McAdoo be the public face of this disaster?
Answer: The weirdest part of Mara's press conference Thursday was when he was asked if McAdoo could've presented this decision more compassionately. Mara's answer: "I suppose he could have. I don't think that's necessarily his strength." Huh? I get "warm and fuzzy" isn't a requirement for NFL head coaches. Bill Belichick is Exhibit A of that. But showing a little bit of humanity when benching a franchise icon is a requirement, especially in New York where the 24-hour media blitz on big stories can drag on for 24 days. This isn't Green Bay -- a fact McAdoo has never seemed to realize. Maybe he never will. It really makes me wonder how well-thought-out the decision to hire McAdoo was in the first place.
And where is Jerry Reese?
Answer: Far from view, as usual, while those above and below him face the press (and by extension, the paying customers) and take the heat. Of course he should've come out and talked. And of course he didn't. He's next scheduled to speak publicly right after this miserable season ends. Consider that to be "tentatively", though.