Jim Mancari, ContributorThe one unit where the entire analysis centers on just one guy is quarterback.
By his standards, Eli Manning would tell you that he has had a sub-par season. Right from his very first pass of the year that was intercepted by DeMarcus Ware, it’s been a very rough first half for the two-time Super Bowl MVP.
He’s currently leading the NFL with 15 interceptions – not exactly the stat you want to lead. But granted, some of those were the result of receivers running bad routes, and some were literally just bad luck.
After the Giants’ fifth straight loss to start the season, Eli said on WFAN that he didn’t think he was playing all that lousy. Other than the interceptions, his passing numbers have been OK, as he’s in the top-10 in passing yards (2,167).
However, his completion percentage (55.7) ranks near the bottom of the league, and even worse, his decision-making has been very poor.
In Eli’s defense, it’s very difficult to establish a rhythm with a revolving door along the offensive line and a severe lack of a running game.
“I think any time that you have a lot of different moving parts in an offense, it’s going to affect the flow of the offense,” said quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan. “I don’t know if it specifically affected him (Manning). I can tell you as a professional and as a competitor that I don’t think Eli spends a lot of time thinking, ‘Hey, I’m worried about this new guy.’ He doesn’t think about that. But I think, in general, every offense in America, at every level, if you’re changing players, there is going to be a growth period.”
The past two weeks, the offensive line and running backs have each done some good things. Manning hasn’t exactly lit up the scoreboard, but at least the pressure has been kept off of him somewhat.
Ryan said that Eli has been very frustrated by his performance this season, since he sets such a high standard for himself and his team. But Eli’s work ethic remains top-notch.
“I would say that behind the scenes, the one thing that has stayed consistent and hasn’t changed is that this guy (Manning) comes to work every day; his preparation doesn’t change; he believes in his preparation, and we believe in it,” Ryan said. “I think that will be the key and has been the key to turning the thing around. I think he’s done that. He’s stayed constant with that.”
Hopefully, that work ethic will keep the Giants on their current winning streak after the bye. We know one thing: Eli likely isn’t relaxing at the beach during his week off. He’s probably at the team facility reviewing film or having his receivers perfect their route running.
So while the start of his season didn’t shape up as planned, there are still eight games for him to right the ship. Not too many people will be talking about the 0-6 start if Big Blue can rattle off a long winning streak, which would put them right back into the playoff discussion.
It’s a fact: Eli Manning’s performance will be crucial to turning the season around. But as far as a grade, we have to look at past performance rather than relying on the hope of his future potential.
As of now, Manning is a below average quarterback, mostly due to his turnovers and poor decision-making.
Up next: Offensive Line