The main question over the past few weeks leading to (and through) the bye week was: “What’s wrong with New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning?” Every pundit and armchair coach had their own theory. Dead arm. Check. Super-storm Sandy. Check. Not elite. Check. Let’s go with: none of the above.
Rewind to a few years ago when Manning was a hot topic as his ever-improving 2010 stats were blanketed by his 25 interceptions. Most blamed those turnovers on the wideouts, ya know – their tipped passes… After closer tape break-downs, although the tipped passes were a factor, the issue at hand was Manning. Number 10 was taking too much upon himself to make plays, therefore forcing the rock into places where he shouldn’t have. He admitted that in the offseason.
“…but I can still throw it in there. And that’s where interceptions come from,” Manning said.
Easy E is already focused on what he feels will be an aggressive Green Bay Packers defense in Week 12. If this game is approached like that in week six versus the San Francisco 49ers, it can have the same end result. If that same Manning commands his offense for the entire sixty minutes, well the NFL constants know what will happen. Yes, it is on the quarterback this week.
Manning played well in both games against Green Bay last year. In fact, his numbers were pretty much mirrored. Week 13’s heartbreaking loss (35-38) and the NFC Divisional Round win (37-20) were more on the passing game than the run. Keeping #10 upright was another factor. He was only sacked in each game once. Eli’s cooler head controlled both games – and the clock.
As much as the offense as a whole looks dysfunctional and puts Perry Fewell’s defense back on the field faster than Tom Coughlin turning red and letting R-rated vernacular roll off his tongue after a fumble, the captain must lead his still-developing troops where he instructs them. Youth needs leadership, someone who assumes full control during battle. This is where Eli needs to return to: full, trusting command.
As much as Manning admitted that his forcing throws and trying to make things happen (think last minute flips to not-quite-ready players) in 2010 were an area that needed much improvement, injuries to his supporting cast have (in a way) made him revert back to his old ways. Even if it was for “just a few weeks”, there’s no room for it in an ever-hungry NFL – especially during this playoff run time. Well, that and Eli is better than that. No other excuses, the bye week has come and gone and preparing was something that should have been done with more in mind than Thanksgiving dinner.
Here we go. Focus and finish.
"Six-game schedule. That’s it, six-game season. We’re excited about that," head coach Tom Coughlin said Monday. "Watched a lot of football yesterday, as you all did, I’m sure. Got excited, got upset, got excited, got all the emotions in play, but we’re excited to be back on the field and seeing all of our guys again. Hopefully they’re well rested and ready to go. It’s certainly in our hands, in our own control. We have a one-game lead in the division. We play some very good football teams down the stretch here, but that’s what it is. It’s a stretch. We’re excited about that part of it. We look forward to it; one game at a time.”
Exactly. It’s now time to build that bridge that had its blueprints drawn up a year ago.
Also…Eli Manning, Football, Green Bay, Green Bay Packers, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Perry Fewell, Tom Coughlin