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Eli Manning: 'I hope I'm the starting quarterback' again

Could Ben McAdoo's firing on Monday lead to Eli Manning's return under center?

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported it wouldn't be a surprise if the New York Giants handed the starting job back Manning. The move would come after the quarterback's 210-game start streak, second-longest in NFL history, ended Sunday.

For his part, Manning would welcome a move back to starter.

"I hope I am," Manning said Monday on WFAN-AM in New York. "I hope I'm the starting quarterback. I went in today. I did speak with [interim head] coach [Steve] Spagnuolo for a little bit. It had only been 30 minutes since I had been told he was the head coach. I told him I wanted to be the starting quarterback. I want to be out there and help us go win these four games.

"I hope I'm out there on Sunday playing against the Cowboys."

Rapoport reported that going back to the veteran would be an attempt to make right by Manning. Such a move would also be an effort to appease a fan base and locker room upset by the handling of the two-time Super Bowl MVP.

Giants co-owner John Mara told reporters that Spagnuolo would make the call on who starts at QB going forward.

"I've spoken to Steve and he's still trying to come to grips with this whole thing," Mara said. "He wants to talk to his offensive staff and then he's going to talk to [acting GM] Kevin [Abrams] and myself. Ultimately, it's going to be his decision as to who to play at quarterback."

The course-change would be just the latest turn in a disastrous week for the Giants.

Last week, the Giants announced Manning would be benched in favor of Geno Smith and rookie Davis Webb as the organization attempted to evaluate its younger quarterbacks in a lost season.

Manning was told he could start games but would get pulled at some point for the younger QBs. Manning declined a chance for token starts just to prolong his streak.

If the Giants hand the starting reins back to Manning, New York could still try to find snaps for Smith or Webb if games get out of hand or Manning struggles, per Rapoport.

Smith started Sunday's loss to the Oakland Raiders, going 21-of-34 passing for 212 yards and one touchdown pass while losing two fumbles and being sacked three times. Smith's performance behind a porous offensive line, with no ground game, and few receiving targets wasn't much different than what we saw from Manning this season. Webb was inactive.

Starting Manning after ending his iron-man streak would underscore the disastrous handling of the situation by McAdoo. While the Giants were justified in wanting to see their younger quarterbacks on the field in a lost season, McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese bungled the move. Mara, however, denied that their handling of Manning led to their firings Monday.

"That really had no effect whatsoever. 2-10 is 2-10," Mara said."Obviously, the public reaction to that was not pleasant but that really didn't have any effect on our decision."

The Giants' offense has been a disaster with McAdoo as head coach. Since his hiring as head coach in 2016, Big Blue has scored just 17.8 points per game and ranks 30th in the NFL in total yards per tilt (314.7) -- only the Browns and Bears have scored fewer PPG since 2016, per NFL Research.

A move back to Manning a week after benching him would be a mea culpa from ownership. It won't change the past, but perhaps giving Manning his starting job back could repair some of the damage done to the Giants relationship with their Super Bowl champ.

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