Coughlin's call: Eli takes reins from Warner

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Eli Manning has replaced Kurt Warner as the New York Giants' starting quarterback.

Coach Tom Coughlin made the move Monday after Warner and the
offense struggled for the second consecutive week in a 17-14 loss
to the Cardinals in Arizona. The Giants (5-4) have lost three of
the last four games after a 4-1 start.

Manning, the top pick in this year's draft and the brother of
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, will face the
Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Giants Stadium.

"He is the future of the New York Giants, it just starts now,"
Coughlin said of Manning, who lost a close training camp
competition with Warner for the starting job. "I really felt the
last four games we haven't been playing well offensively. We just
need to make a change."

Coughlin told both players on Monday. His meeting with Manning
happened around 12:30 p.m.

"It's exciting," said Manning, who has seen limited mop-up
action in two games. "This is something I want to do. This is what
I want to do for a living. This is why I want to play football, so
I can go out there and be the starting quarterback. I'm looking
forward to the opportunity. Now it's time to go out there and play

While Warner was professional in handling the change, the
demotion caught the two-time MVP off-guard.

It came a day after he completed 19 of 31 passes for 193 yards
and a touchdown. He did not throw an interception or fumble, but
the offense also did not score after getting two early touchdowns.

"My play yesterday I don't think had anything to do with
that," Warner said of the change. "Read into that as much as you
want, but there is a bigger picture here. There's more things that
are trying to be accomplished here, and that's why the decision was

Warner, who had thrown six touchdowns and four interceptions on
268 attempts, seemed to suggest the organization wanted Manning to
play just to get an idea about their $46 million wonder kid.

"I don't think it's political," halfback Tiki Barber said.
"We've lost three of four, something has to change. I have talked
about this before, how sometimes just change for change sake makes
things happen, and that's what we are looking for, some spark."

Coughlin could have considered revamping his offensive line,
which has allowed 23 sacks in the last four games and 39 this
season. However, his best five players are already playing.

The only recourse was a quarterback change.

Warner, signed in the offseason as a caretaker quarterback after
being released by the Rams, did his best to keep Manning on the
bench all season. After losing the opener, he led the Giants to
four straight wins.

Turnovers by Warner in losses to Detroit and Chicago, and a ton
of penalties against Arizona convinced Coughlin to switch starters.

"I'm a little surprised," receiver Amani Toomer said. "The
offense is sputtering, but it's not all Kurt. He is kind of the

The Giants traded four draft picks, including first-rounders
this year and next, to San Diego to acquire Manning on draft day.
After a horrible performance in his first minicamp, Manning has
impressed the coaching staff and teammates with his knowledge of
the game, his poise and his arm.

"He is not your ordinary rookie," Toomer said. "He does some
special things with the football."