Aaron It Out: Manning the Scout Team

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, one of the biggest news bombshells in the NFL world went off: Eli Manning got hosed by the Giants.

Oh, I’m sorry, that didn’t come out right. The Giants replaced a two-Super-Bowl-winning quarterback with a guy who got benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick and is barely a year removed from tearing his ACL.

Wait, that wasn’t it either. Let me try this again: the Giants took their team bus, and their best franchise quarterback since Phil Simms retired, and threw him under it.

That seems about right.

Ben McAdoo, soon to be former Head Coach of the New York Giants, announced on Tuesday that the team “wants to evaluate its young talent” and that he would be replacing Eli Manning with Geno freaking Smith as the starting quarterback of the Giants.

Someone place Ben McAdoo and current Giants GM Jerry Reese into a rocket, and fire them both into outer space for this absolutely boneheaded move.

The Giants are beyond not good this year. They are bad. But, they have squandered a solid defense, their offensive line sucks, they have no run game, and two-thirds of their receiving corps are on injured reserve. They got bit by the injury bug; combine that with bad drafting recently and the team only has two wins. That sucks. But that is not a reason to essentially punt your franchise quarterback to the curb.

Thinkpieces galore have come from this move, from those in the majority deriding the move, to a select few, such as Peter King of Sports Illustrated and who does his best to not write critical opinions of anyone so he doesn’t sour himself with the owners stating that it was the best move for the team.

Your goal in the NFL is to win; your ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl. That cannot happen every year but some sort of effort needs to be made. The Giants are only one year removed from making a strong playoff push and an 11-5 record. It’s obvious that injuries and bad coaching have caused this. There is no overwhelming degradation of talent going on. That much is obvious – many weighed in, including former Giants coach and current Jaguars EVP of Football Tom Coughlin, who drafted Eli and won the two Super Bowls with him.

Teams moving on from iconic players sucks. The Jaguars could not afford to keep either Fred Taylor or Maurice Jones-Drew on their team near the end of their careers, and Jags fans had to endure the players in Patriots and Raiders gear, respectively. Peyton Manning, who literally brought the Indianapolis Colts back to relevance, had to sit out for a year to get healthy, and then was cut and went to Denver. Joe Montana was traded to Kansas City to finish out his career – it stunk for 49ers fans but he took the Chiefs to the playoffs.

But this isn’t smooth, it’s not done at the end of the year, it’s not saying goodbye – it’s benching a star for another player – and not even your drafted potential QB of the future – and making that star run the scout team, and probably not even dress on game days. It’s awful, it was mismanaged, and it’s very likely that Ben McAdoo (who Eli vouched for when the Giants made the decision to move on from Coughlin) will not be a head coach in the NFL again for a long time.

What happens now? If the Giants really gave a crap about Eli, in my opinion, they would’ve traded him a month ago. Now, they should release him, but wait. If he is released now, he is subject to the waivers process and that means a team like the Browns, Jets, or another non-contender can pick him up. He will want to go somewhere with a good chance to win another Super Bowl. Eli also has a no-trade clause in his contract, so a trade cannot occur without his permission or authorization. Have a nice press conference, don’t invite Jerry Reese or Ben McAdoo, say how much you appreciate him for giving you two rings, and tell him goodbye.

Where will Eli land? My top votes (I’m seriously not being prejudiced here) would be Jacksonville or Denver. Denver needs a running back and their line isn’t top-notch right now, but that can be fixed; the Broncos have familiarity with Peyton and could certainly make an offer. That said, Eli has always blazed his own trail out from under the shadow of his big brother. He didn’t go to the same college or even the same conference as Peyton. His family is on the east coast. Tom Coughlin, a coach he knew for many years, is in Jacksonville as is one of the top young running backs and the number one defense in the league. The Jags will be looking to upgrade the QB position in the offseason no matter what happens in 2017, and Eli makes total sense in that regard. That shouldn’t preclude the Jags from drafting a QB, but that guy will sit for at least a year or two behind Eli, if that happens.

THE AARON IT OUT TOP FIVE
1. Eagles
2. Vikings
3. Rams
4. Jaguars
5. Steelers

BONUS TOP FIVE CHRISTMAS SONGS

  1. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
  2. All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
  3. Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town – Jackson 5
  4. Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt
  5. Rockin’ Around the Christms Tree – Lee “Scratch” Perry

PICKS AND PREVIEWS

REDSKINS @ COWBOYS – An interesting Thursday night matchup, as both teams will have had a full week to rest (they played on Thanksgiving). Fatigue won’t be an issue, but the Cowboys are on a bit of a meltdown; they haven’t even scored 10 points in each of their last three games. On the other hand, they usually show up for their NFC East opponents. I think this will be a relatively good game, but I’ll go ahead and say the Redskins win.

CHIEFS @ JETS – The Chiefs have lost five of their last six games. So have the Jets. If there was a “oh, time to wake up and realize the Chargers are on our butts” game for Kansas City, it’s this one. The Jets are looking the way we expect them to now. I’ll say the Chiefs win.

PATRIOTS @ BILLS – Hmm… the Patriots are slowly getting warmed up for the last part of the year and a potential playoff run, but they always give up that one unexpected AFC East win. The Bills just took down the Chiefs, and Tyrod Taylor is playing great football. I am going to go on a bit of a limb here and say the Bills win at home.

BRONCOS @ DOLPHINS – Yikes. Broncos win. Move on.

NINERS @ BEARS – Jimmy “Franchise Savior lol jk” Garoppolo is starting for the Niners this week. It still won’t make the game interesting. Bears win, they have better defense.

LIONS @ RAVENS – The Lions put up a good effort against the Vikings last week, and I think that they will have an easier time with the other team in purple this week. The Ravens do have a two-game winning streak but will struggle to keep up with putting points on the board like the Lions do. Here, I’m looking for a Lions win.

VIKINGS @ FALCONS – This is going to be a very good game; the Falcons have gotten back on track offensively, and the Vikings are one of the best teams in football right now. Who have the Falcons beat recently, though? The slumping Cowboys and Bucs, and the aging and injured Seahawks. The Vikings have gone through the Redskins, Rams, Lions, Saints, and more… and they’re scoring an average of 30 points per game this season. I think Minnesota goes into Megatron’s butthole, brings the pain, and walks out with a Vikings win.

BUCS @ PACKERS – Jameis Winston may be back, but Brett Hundley doesn’t care. Hundley had a great performance in Green Bay’s loss to Pittsburgh last week – and at home, in the December cold, a home field advantage will leave the Packers “tasting the W.”

TEXANS @ TITANS – This is not the same Texans team that thrashed the Titans back in week 3. But, the Titans are getting a little sloppier and Mariota is playing worse football now than he was at the beginning of the season. Texans win.

COLTS @ JAGUARS – The Colts are hanging with opponents better as the season goes on and that is good for them, but they are on their third center and most of their starting defense is injured. The Jaguars are praying they get their regular offensive line back so they can run the ball more. This is a good rebound game for the Jags after last week. The main thing here is that Bortles cannot make mistakes, and the Jags defense has to force the Colts into making mistakes. We’ll see what happens, but I’ll predict a Jaguars win.

BROWNS @ CHARGERS – Chargers win. Next!

RAMS @ CARDINALS – The Jaguars almost made the Cardinals look like a competent team with Blaine Gabbert as their starter. Don’t let last week fool you, though. The Cardinals are still bad, should’ve lost last week, and will lose here. Rams win.

GIANTS @ RAIDERS – If Eli was starting, I’d give New York a chance. However, the Giants are tanking and will chalk this loss up to “development.” Raiders win.

PANTHERS @ SAINTS – In 2015, a Panthers-Saints week 13 matchup was essentially a shootout, ending in a 41-38 score. The Panthers went on that year to appear in the Super Bowl. That won’t happen this year, but I think the game will be the same; hopefully the network that runs this will remember some highlights from that year. Unlike 2015, I think the Saints will win this one, though.

EAGLES @ SEAHAWKS – The Eagles are the best team in the NFC, and the Seahawks are injured and aging. I absolutely think this is an Eagles win.

STEELERS @ BENGALS – This is always a super entertaining game in one way or the other, but the Steelers are way more talented and playing for a good spot in the playoffs this year. Pittsburgh can and should win this game. Steelers win.

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