With the New York Giants latest loss to the Green Bay Packers this past Sunday that sent them to 2-3, it caused an outrage from the fan base because it’s slowly starting to look like more of the same from the team over the last four seasons: losing football.
Ever since the 2012 season, the Giants have been 7-9 in 2013 and 6-10 in both the 2014 and 2015 seasons and now, are off to a 2-3 start, which equals out to a 21-32 record. Not a pretty site for a team that won a Super Bowl four years ago, but this is why there’s a new regime in East Rutherford with Ben McAdoo and not Tom Coughlin as the head coach, although quite frankly, McAdoo’s tenure hasn’t gotten off to the kind of start he was hoping for.
If the losing does persist, there’s a decent chance that general manager Jerry Reese could follow Coughlin out the door after the 2016 season, as he was the architect of this current team and authorized the spending of over $200 million on the defense; one that hasn’t looked too good in the last three weeks. Looking for a new general manager will be warranted if the Giants fail to qualify for the postseason and have a fourth straight losing season, as Reese has had several chances to fix the Giants, but wasn’t able to put together a team that could contend for several years in the NFC and NFC East.
But despite fans wanting to run Reese out of town just like they wanted to run Coughlin out of town and finally got their wish when his services were no longer required following the 2015 season, the fans are overreacting when they want to run out the one guy whose been tied to the Giants two latest championship runs: Eli Manning.
The 35-year-old Super Bowl winning quarterback has gotten off to a slower start to the 2016 season, as he only has five touchdown passes to four interceptions and hasn’t looked quite as good as he did in the first two weeks of the season. But some of his struggles aren’t his fault.
For one, the offensive line play has been downright atrocious. Aside from Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, who are the team’s most consistent and best lineman, the line hasn’t been great. Ereck Flowers continues to struggle and has hampered the team with penalties, Marshall Newhouse was downright terrible before his injury, John Jerry is up and down and Bobby Hart is still learning on the job. They have Will Beatty, but he’s still trying to get into football shape after missing the entire summer and missing the entire 2015 season due to injuries.
The other, the run game. Rashad Jennings has been hurt for the last couple of weeks and he is still the team’s best overall back. Shane Vereen went on injured reserve a few weeks ago with an injury and may not be back until later in the season, which has left Orleans Darkwa and Bobby Rainey as the two main backs with Paul Perkins being sprinkled in. With the depth to the running game being depleted, i’s not giving the Giants offense the level of balance it needs to be effective and it’s hurt in the passing game.
Because of these things, you’ve seen a few more turnovers than normal, especially with the interceptions thrown by Manning. Aside from the final one in the loss to the Washington Redskins back in Week 3, the picks you’re seeing are the result of miscommunication by receivers breaking off their route (Odell Beckham in the Minnesota Vikings game) or tipping the ball up in the air (Sterling Shepard in the Dallas Cowboys game). It seems like the same old story, but it’s calling it how it is.
However, these factors have now caused fans, and especially more so following the Giants loss to the Packers this past Sunday, for the team to bench Manning and put in second-string and very-little used quarterback Ryan Nassib, which is almost utter nonsense.
Two months ago when it was the preseason, these are the same fans who wanted Nassib cut because he looked awful against team’s third and fourth string defensive opponents and his inexperience against actual NFL competition clearly showed on the field. Yet, this is the guy fans want coming into the game to take the place of a two-time Super Bowl MVP who has had two of his best statistical seasons before the 2016 season?
We know the New York fans are tired of losing, but the losing is not Manning’s fault and to blame the quarterback whose responsible for half of the franchise’s Lombardi Trophies is sheer and utter nonsense and a case of fans overreacting to a couple of tough losses.
Lets be realistic, the Giants weren’t looked upon as the favorites in either of the Vikings and Packers games; both are solid contenders who will likely be in the NFC playoff picture this season, so there’s no shame in losing to either of them, especially on the road.
It’s one thing to be fed up and if you want to point fingers at the Giants defense, the terrible play of the offensive line, the lack of running game or Reese for putting together this team and his failure to provide depth at certain spots (the offensive line), that’s understandable.
But to blame Manning for this is a bit of a reach. And to want the Giants to sit Manning for Nassib is laughable. Nassib at no point has shown anyone that he’s capable of running the Giants offense and to do so against first string NFL defenses.
To expect him to be inserted and perform any better is setting up the entire team for failure. Manning gives the Giants the best chance to win in 2016. The sooner the fans realize that, the better off they will be moving forward in the season.
Sure, Manning is getting up there in age at 35, but his skills are not diminishing and until they do, he’s still the guy to run the team moving forward. Now the guys around him, that’s a different story and that falls on Reese’s shoulders.
But the success of the Giants in 2016 and for the next couple of seasons will continue to depend on the guy that has held up two Lombardi Trophies in his career and continues to move up the all-time quarterback ranks in several statistical categories, and that’s Eli Manning.
Should fans continue to trust Manning? If you want the best chance to win games every week, you better believe it.