City Sports Report

Is This The Final Chapter in the Book of Eli?

Eli Manning (Photo by Marc Rasbury)

The New York Giants head into this season looking to rebound from a rough 2013. The team suffered injuries all over the place and also suffered from a lack of production from it’s main components. But just like the quarterback receives all the praise, he receives all the criticism as well. Quarterback Eli Manning had some of the worst numbers of his career in 2013. But what some are overlooking is the downward trend Manning has had over the last few years. With that being said, are we looking at the end of Eli in New York soon?

Manning came into the NFL with the prestige of his last name. Many thought he had tools, but he just was not as talented as his brother Peyton, and at the beginning of his career, he surely gave us all that impression. He was not really spectacular and was even less impressive in the playoffs. But in the 2007 season, Eli took over the postseason and announced that he had arrived. Manning threw six touchdowns and one interception as he led the Giants to a Super Bowl win versus the undefeated New England Patriots, highlighted by this particular play:

Eli became the unequivocal leader of the team and finally stepped out of the shadow of his older brother. Manning followed this performance up with four more solid seasons. But after winning his second Super Bowl in the 2011 season, the decline started. In the 2011 season, Eli averaged 8.4 yards per completion along with 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions despite being sacked 28 times. But in the following season, his yards per completion dropped down to 7.4 and he completed one less touchdown. The Giants did not make the playoffs in that season and Eli was actually sacked less than he was in the previous season. In 2013, Manning only produced 18 touchdown passes along with a career-high 27 interceptions.  Many seemed to wonder what was going on in New York as the Giants missed the playoffs for a second straight season.

It’s clear that Eli has hit a rough patch in his career. He is on a downward slide that he may never recover from. Plenty of people blame the issues he had on offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride, who was  fired in the offseason. Others blame it on an unimpressive running game that led Manning to throw the ball so much. And there are even some fans that believe the wide receiver trio of Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle should shoulder some of the blame. But what can justify this play in 2013?

This play is inexcusable, especially for a quarterback that has made many game-winning plays throughout his career. And this was just the first play of the 2013 regular season. A quarterback of his experience has to ground that football because the running back is not even open on that play. But Eli seemed to make nonsensical plays like this the entire season. At 33 years old, can anyone expect Eli to get his mojo back with the change of an offensive coordinator? For Giants fans out there, they better hope the new offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo, has an impression on Eli like Ken Whisenhunt had on Phillip Rivers last season. Because if McAdoo does not, and Eli has another season on the downward slide, the Giants will be in a little bit of trouble at the quarterback position.

Looking forward, the Giants have many questions as to what their team will be. But one they had not planned to address so soon is who will succeed Eli Manning at quarterback. Ryan Nassib was drafted out of Syracuse in 2013 and expected to potentially be in line to replace Eli one day. But after seeing how he did the last season, the Giants first brought in Josh Freeman (cut two months after signing him) and then Curtis Painter this offseason. It’s evident the Giants don’t think he is the answer when they bring in a guy like Painter, and he is listed ahead of him on the depth chart already. Other than Nassib, there is no other solution available at this present time. The clock is ticking for Giants general manager Jerry Reese and the rest of Giants management, and for the Giants organization and their fans, they are hoping the clock ticks slow in the erosion of Eli Manning.

For more sports talk, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

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