<
>

Twitter mailbag: No, it's not time to bench Eli Manning

No, I don't know who's getting fired. No one does. But I'm happy to take your New York Giants questions if you used the #nygmail hashtag on Twitter this week, and then we'll get into all of that other stuff three-four weeks from now, mkay? Cool.

@DanGrazianoESPN: It's just such a major move, right? It's one thing for Washington to bench Robert Griffin III, who's had one decent NFL season and ticked off two different head coaches in two years, or for Cleveland to ponder benching a career backup like Brian Hoyer for first-round pick Johnny Manziel. But this is Eli Manning, two-time Super Bowl MVP we're talking about here. A guy who literally has never missed a game since becoming the starter in 2004. If you sit him down just to take a look at 2013 fourth-round pick Ryan Nassib, you're making a clear and unequivocal announcement to your team, Manning and the world at large that you no longer have faith in him to be your quarterback. And I just don't think the Giants are at that point with Manning. Or with Nassib, for that matter. If Nassib was blowing them away in practice and looking like he absolutely had to get a shot to start an NFL game, that might be a different story. But he's not, and after a year and three quarters as an NFL backup they got in the fourth round, there's no reason to expect that he would be. People get so locked in on the games, because that's all we get to see, that they forget the coaches are watching these guys work and throw and operate the offense four, five, six days a week. They don't have to find out what they have with Nassib. They know what they have with Nassib, and with what they have with Manning, and right now Manning gives them the best chance to win games. Their offseason evaluations may differ from what they're doing now, especially if different people are making the decisions. But as of now, they're trying to win as many of their final four games as they can, and Manning is their best quarterback option by far. He's also far from their biggest problem right now.

@DanGrazianoESPN: I think that's one of several good possibilities in terms of what happens with Tom Coughlin after this season. They hired Ben McAdoo to be their offensive coordinator last year in part because they saw him as potential head coach material down the road. It's not as though they hired him to be Coughlin's successor, but they saw in him the leadership qualities they like in a coach, and they believed he could develop into a potential head coach candidate. If, after his first year as a coordinator and playcaller, they still feel that way, and they don't want to move on from Coughlin, then it makes a lot of sense to give the Coughlin-McAdoo partnership at least another year in which they can continue to develop and evaluate McAdoo. I honestly don't know how to handicap what's going to happen, because I honestly don't believe any decisions have been made. Coughlin could get fired, could decide to walk away, could come back next year. But your scenario is definitely not far-fetched, and might make a lot of sense.

@DanGrazianoESPN: I think the Giants' biggest problems are on the lines -- offensive and defensive -- and if I were picking No. 7 (which is the pick they currently hold) and I were them, I would take the best available offensive lineman or pass-rusher on the board at that point. I don't think they can go wrong either way. Even if they re-sign Jason Pierre-Paul, the pass-rush is still going to need an infusion of potential building-block players. Can't have too many pass-rushers, as a wise man once said. And even after they took Justin Pugh in the first round last year, took Weston Richburg in the second round this year and signed three free-agent linemen who've started games for them this season, it remains clear that the line still needs a lot of work and an infusion of top-tier talent as opposed to bargain solutions. All you have to do is look at what's gone on in Dallas this year to see the value of using first-round picks on offensive linemen. The Giants need to think big in the draft. As in, big, big players.

@DanGrazianoESPN: I don't think even Eli would think that.

@DanGrazianoESPN: We'll know more in a few hours. Running back Rashad Jennings tested out his injured right ankle by doing some running Friday after missing Wednesday's and Thursday's practices, and the team was encouraged enough to list him as questionable for Sunday's game instead of ruling him out. So they'll try him out again this morning and decide, based on how his ankle responds to Friday's work, whether to take him on the trip to Nashville. If he does make the flight, that doesn't mean for certain that he'll play. (Justin Pugh traveled to Jacksonville last week and was still inactive for the game.) But it's possible they'll decide to leave him home, in which case you'll have your answer for sure this afternoon.

Thanks for all of the questions, and enjoy the college games.