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No longer Giants' starter, Eli Manning serves as scout team QB

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Eli Manning's role as the backup quarterback for the New York Giants also includes some foreign responsibilities. He has the unenviable task of running the scout team.

Scout team is the offensive/defensive teams used at practice to simulate that week’s opponent. The Giants (2-9) play the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

This is how far Manning has fallen after being demoted to second-string Tuesday. Geno Smith will start Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. Manning will serve as his backup, with rookie Davis Webb remaining as the third-stringer.

Webb’s role and workload has not changed this week.

In the meantime, practice had a much different look. Instead of working with the starters, Manning was pretending to be Oakland quarterback Derek Carr for the scout team.

“Eli ran it and Davis ran it,” coach Ben McAdoo said after practice.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard said he didn’t see any difference from the only quarterback that has thrown him a pass in a regular-season game since joining the Giants. He saw Manning “throwing dimes.” It just happened to be to receivers who are on the practice squad.

Seeing Manning in that role surprised some teammates. They didn’t expect him to be doing it in Week 13, with the Giants already eliminated from the playoffs. They thought he would be the starter forever. It's been a long time since another player (the long-retired Kurt Warner) has started at quarterback for the Giants.

“It was weird. Definitely weird,” offensive lineman Justin Pugh said. “I know he handled himself like a true professional and I would expect nothing less from him.”

Handling scout-team reps is not something Manning has likely done much in his career. He’s been the Giants’ starting quarterback since midway through the 2004 season.

He’s started all 11 games this season.

“That was pretty strange,” said Shepard, who returned to practice Wednesday for the first time in almost two weeks after suffering from migraines.

It was equally strange that Smith was taking the first-team reps. He was the second- and third-string quarterback throughout the spring and summer. He was Manning’s backup the first 11 weeks of the season, receiving only a handful of reps at practice each week.

“Good practice,” Smith said. “Things went smooth. Take care of business. It’s different because just more reps.”

Smith’s role has undoubtedly been altered. Manning has unequivocally changed as well.

“It was kind of crazy, cause I'm not used to seeing Eli as the No. 2,” veteran defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. “I still in my eyes don't see him as a No. 2 or a backup quarterback, and just rushing I realized I had to stay away from him still because that is our quarterback at the end of the day.”

Except their quarterback spent part of Wednesday running the scout team.