EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning is back as the starting quarterback of the New York Giants.
A week after being sent to the bench by former coach Ben McAdoo, Manning was put back in the starting lineup for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys by interim coach Steve Spagnuolo.
"My instinct now says that Eli should be the opener," Spagnuolo said explaining the move after practice on Wednesday.
Manning, 36, received the decision on Tuesday. He had entered the Spagnuolo office on Monday after McAdoo was fired and told the former defensive coordinator that he wanted to start over.
"It's important to play, that's what I love doing," Manning said after practice. "I love playing field marshal and I love playing quarterback for the New York Giants, so that's what I'll be working on."
Manning had started 210 consecutive games in the past more than 13 seasons until he was replaced by Geno Smith against Oakland last week. The streak was the second longest in NFL history, second only to Brett Favre (297).
The first clue to the change back to Manning came early in practice when he received the first blow with the offense.
Of course, some of the offensive linemen seemed to make fun of him when he joined the group.
"We reintroduced him, especially me," said tackle Justin Pugh. "I've been away for a while (three weeks) and I wanted to let him know who he was, even though we shared the scout group last week, it was good to see 10 there, he's been my quarterback since I was in the league "
Manning's bancking last week upset the quarterback and angered the Giants fans. Combined with the team's 2-10 record and other problems, it led co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch to fire McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese on Monday.
"I think everyone knows how I feel about Eli," said Spagnuolo. "What happened, it happened, in the long run, I hope it's a really good thing, he came into my office and, as a coach, he wants every player to enter his office with the determination and determination he had."
When McAdoo sent Manning to the bench, he said the team needed to evaluate Smith and rookie Davis Webb in the final month of the season to get into the offseason with a clearer plan on quarterbacks.
Spagnuolo was not sure if the evaluation would be done, adding that his goal is to win games. He said that Manning gives the Giants the best chance to do that.
Smith will be the substitute quarterback, Spagnuolo said, adding that Webb's workload has increased in practice in recent weeks.
Spagnuolo had a long meeting with Smith and understood his disappointment at losing the starting position without guilt. Spagnuolo added that he was impressed with Smith's professionalism in handling the situation.
"I will continue to be the same guy, I will continue to support my boys, my teammates," said Smith, a former Jet who signed as a free agent in the offseason. "I will continue to be prepared, you never know what will happen."
Smith completed 21 of 34 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown. He also lost two fumbles after being fired in the 24-17 loss to the Raiders.
"I feel bad for Geno, too," Pugh said. "He did not ask to be put in this situation, a lot of disrespect and hatred were thrown in his way, it just is not necessary, I understand that everyone wants to support Eli, but supporting one man and putting another is not the way to do it" .
NOTES: CB Eli Apple (hip / back), LB Jonathan Casillas (neck / wrist), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger), WR Sterling Shepard (femoral biceps) and T Chad Wheeler (concussion) did not practice. Pugh and RB Wayne Gallman (hip), LB B.J. Goodson (ankle) and DT Damon Harrison (elbow) were limited.