He is a two-time Super Bowl champion. He is a two-time Super Bowl MVP. He is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and holds multiple NFL records.
This is an abbreviated resume of Eli Manning who has become the figurehead of the New York Giants (5-9) abysmal season. His resume now reads this according to TheWeek.com: “Eli Manning is the worst quarterback since Mark Sanchez.” Yikes.
Manning is having his worst season since arriving in the NFL in 2003. He is leading the league in interceptions with 25 and instead of leading his team to the Super Bowl, individuals are taunting the Giants horrendous season as an opportunity for Manning to become the single-season record holder for most interceptions. Sigh.
But just because Manning is having the worst season in his career doesn’t tarnish every thing he has accomplished. He isn’t the first nor the last elite quarterback to struggle. Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan are having subpar seasons as well and in this crazy NFL season, many quarterbacks such as Cam Newton and Russell Wilson have unexpectedly dominated. So before people start comparing Manning to Sanchez, let’s abstain ourselves from further embarrassment and try to look at the Giants as a team, not as Manning.
The quarterback position is the most important and most difficult position to maintain in the NFL, therefore the second most important has to be your offensive line. If you look at Brees, Wilson, and Newton, who are destroying the NFC, each quarterback has a stout offensive line. The Giants have an offensive line that has allowed Manning to be sacked 37 times and have an adjusted sack rate of 8.2% according to FootballOutsiders.com, which is 8th worst in the league. And when Manning doesn’t pass, it is just as bad.
The offensive line is one of the top 5 worst offensive lines for run blocking. According to FootballOutsiders.com, Giants running backs are stuffed 23% of the time, which is the 3rd worst percentage in the league. There better be a huge Christmas card with a boat load of goodies in it for Andre Brown because without him, the Giants would potentially finish the season as the worst rushing team in the league.
Second, aside from Victor Cruz, this wide receiving corps that was determined to be the best corps in the league during pre-season by yours truly has looked nothing like what they were meant to be. Cruz has 998 yards (should have 1,000 if it weren’t for the Grinch, Pete Carroll) and cemented the contract he received over the summer, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle haven’t lived to expectations. Nicks is not giving the Giants front office any persuasion to re-sign him at the end of the season nor any front office for that matter. Even the Cleveland Browns who have a new quarterback every day have Josh Gordon who has taken the league by storm.
So, if the offensive line isn’t working, the run game is stagnant and the wide receivers aren’t living to expectations, how can you possibly blame Manning for having a horrible season? Enough of blaming Manning, everyone is to blame for the Giants terrible season and it starts from the top. Jerry Reese needs to start planning offseason moves now in order to reinvigorate the offensive line and determine whether to move forward from Nicks and maybe see if he can get a wide receiver from the draft or free agency. But that is just one of the many things he must do this offseason.
Manning will never become Sanchez. Manning’s season isn’t one big butt fumble. It is just one big disaster that is none of his responsibility.