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New Orleans Saints’ Steve Spagnuolo: Eli Manning? Yeah, He’s Elite

December 5th, 2012 at 11:25 AM
By Dan Benton

Due to a few poor games earlier this season, the status of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was once again called into question. Forget the two Super Bowl MVP's and numerous franchise records, the real question was (and remains): is he elite? Well, old friend and current New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo says, emphatically, "yes."

“You described it: He’s elite,” Spagnuolo said. “There aren’t many that are elite. He’s one of them. He’s another one of those guys.”

Spagnuolo had a front row seat for Manning's first Super Bowl victory and Super Bowl MVP, but that was five long years ago and Peyton's younger brother is vastly better now than he was then. Accordingly, the familiarity has been keeping Spags up at night, as his worst-ranked defense will be in charge of shutting Manning & Co. down this coming Sunday.

“He is the kind of guy that doesn’t get rattled,” Spagnuolo said. “He sits big in the pocket. People will say he’s not a scrambler, yet you can always find some plays in a game where he gets himself out of trouble, puts the ball downfield right on somebody and makes a big play. We have to be prepared for everything.”

Although Manning won't directly face off against Drew Brees, Spagnuolo's biggest asset may be the team's quarterback. The veteran is 4-0 in his career against the Giants, having thrown 11 TDs and 0 INTs with a QB Rating of 122.1. In his last two meetings with the Giants, he has thrown for 8 TDs and 0 INTs with a QB Rating of 143.8.

Needless to say, for a team struggling to stop anything, the best defense may be a good offense. Then again, Spagnuolo knows Big Blue has some talent on defense as well … especially in cornerback Corey Webster.

“It’s really great, from afar, to watch him grow and mature as a player and as an adult. He is one of my favorite guys.”

The Giants will certainly need both Manning and Webster, as well as everyone else, to step up big on Sunday or risk losing complete and total control of the NFC East and their playoff hopes.


Tags: Corey Webster, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Football, New Orleans Saints, New Orleans, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Steve Spagnuolo

28 Responses to “New Orleans Saints’ Steve Spagnuolo: Eli Manning? Yeah, He’s Elite”

  1.  GOAT56 says:

    re Jim – How many times can we turn it around after playing poor football?

    In a normal season even after last season I wouldn’t feel as good as I do now. But this season the 4 other top NFC teams are not playing a high level of football right now. We had a much bigger jump to make last year in terms of how team like GB, SF and NO were playing compared to us. If we were in the AFC I would feel worse because NE & Denver are playing well and you still have Houston, with Cin hot and Bal/Pitt capable.

    To me the struggle is getting to the playoffs. I think if we reach the playoffs most here (even those complaining now) will feel good about our chance to return to the SB.

    •  Levito says:

      If the Giants get to the playoffs, it will be because they won at least 3 of their last 4 games. Winning 3 or 4 of 4 (and assuming they play well in those games), and I’m pretty sure just about every Giants fan will feel good about their chances.

      The question is, what are the Giants chances of playing well in the next 4 games?

      •  GOAT56 says:

        I think our chances good because we generally played well with are backs against the wall and when we are doubted. We have played 3 top teams (I’m including Pitt) this year and are 2-1 so we have shown the propensity to step our game up when needed.

        But while I would like us to win 4 of 4 or at least 3 of 4, I’m not convinced that’s what it will take to win this division. I think both Dallas and Washington could end up 8-8 or worse. I’m not saying it will happen. But Washington or Dallas getting to 9-7 is no given. They are both 6-6 right now for a reason. How will Washington handle expectations? Well Dallas is just plain inconsistent.

        •  Levito says:

          Washington may be 6-6 for a reason. But they’re also 3-0 since their bye. The Giants are on a 1-3 streak.

          •  GOAT56 says:

            The Giants are still 7-5. So washington is suppose to end the season winning 6 out of 7? That seems like a lot to me. A 3 game streak is on thing but that type of stretch seems is that much more harder.

            •  Levito says:

              They’ve already won 3. 2 were pretty convincing. Sure 6 of 7 looks tough, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities. Winning 6 straight to end the season and win the SB was probably a stretch for the Giants last season. But they did it.

  2.  BigBlueScorpion says:

    The defense did not play poorly 17 point is a hell of a defenses game maybe if the o would score a few more points

  3.  Dirt says:

    Meanwhile, elite Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will hohum find themselves in the playoffs with a 10+ win season for the 100th straight time. Elite Peyton Manning and John Fox will show up in the dance as first time partners with one good WR, one Giants cast off.

    That it’s a question whether the Giants will dance, is it Eli or Coughlin (and his cohorts)?

    Eli is elite in my view.

    •  Levito says:

      One good WR? Which one is that, Thomas or Decker?

      •  Dirt says:

        This is of course based on personal opinion, but:

        Nicks + Cruz >>> Thomas + Decker

        The Giants have an elite QB and star receivers, and this is a passing league. The players aren’t the primary reason for the inconsistency.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Even though the NFC east isn’t great Washington and Dallas are competitve every week. NE and Denver play in 2 horrible divisions. Especially Denver. Remember there is a reason they went to the playoffs with Tebow, their division sucked. Even SF is being pushed in their division.

      Also as good as Eli is he hasn’t been the game in, game out QB Peyton or Brady is during the regular season over the course of his career. Last year he was Peyton/Brady ish during the regular season but that was the only year I recall.

      •  Krow says:

        Brady gets the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins twice every year. Fat city.

        •  JimStoll says:

          I agree that if we make it to the dance we will be able to dance with anyone; the making it is the tough part
          we are simply too inconsistent for there to be any real justified confidence that we will turn it on from here on out; we can turn it on – all things are possible — but whether we will or not is a question

          as for Scorpio’s comment on the D, I disagree
          the D was horrible against the skins
          relying on the score as an indicator is illusory
          the skins barely had the ball in the first half and yet they put up as namy points as us
          in the second half they ran up one side of our head and down the other; but for the fumble at the 9, they likely beat us 24-13

          and yes, the Pats and Broncos play in lousy divisions so their path to the playoffs is easier than ours; but that says nothing about how well or poorly we are playing

          we are 7-5 and have played 3 really solid games (Car., SF, GB), 1 pretty solid game (Cleve.), and 8 mediocre to awful games. Our offense has been out od sync all season. we have nagging injuries to key players (Nicks, Bennett); no reliable 3d receiver; we lost out best RB even though he wasn’t getting enough carries to begin with; our 0-line stinks; and our 2 big rookies look unable to contribute. On top of that, Eli is having an off year, especially compared to last season. then there is the little problem regarding FG/TD ratio inside the 20. that is what lost us the game Monday.

          so yes we can turn this around; we still do control our fate; but there are plenty of reasons why it might not happen

  4.  Krow says:

    One thing that definitely has to happen versus New Orleans … we can’t be just kicking FGs. We’ve got to find our way into the end zone. They’re going to get some points. And if all we come away with is 3 then we’ll be in trouble.

  5.  Krow says:

    A little idle musing … but here’s a list of starting caliber OTs hitting free agency at season’s end …

    Ryan Clady – DEN
    Branden Albert – KC
    Jake Long – MIA
    Phil Loadholt – MIN
    Sebastian Vollmer – NE
    Jermon Bushrod – NO

    … and our own …

    Will Beatty – NYG
    Sean Locklear – NYG

    Here’s the OGs …

    Andy Levitre – BUF
    Ryan Lilja – KC
    Brian Waters – NE
    Ryan Lilja – KC
    Brian Waters – NE

    … food for thought …

    •  JimStoll says:

      is Brian Waters really that good?

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I don’t see the thought. Beatty will be resigned. Signed a high priced guard doesn’t seem likely either. The hope for improvement will come in house. Maybe there will be a minor free agent signed like Lockear but we won’t invest any real dollars in our OL outside of Beatty.

      •  Krow says:

        Just that we often rag on our OL … well here’s the top FAs available next year.

        •  BLU-82 says:

          JR does sometimes look to FA to shore up weak positions that we fans like to call neglected (Canty, Rolle, Rivers come to mind). And we know he’s willing to do just that for the OL, (Baas). It wouldn’t shock me at all if JR signed a decent OL if he doesn’t think he’ll want to target one early in the draft.

  6.  Krow says:

    Jim … you’re quite correct about statistics in the NFL. They don’t often tell the story. Too much of the game is situational.

  7.  BigBlueScorpion says:

    Jim so the defenses did not make a play and force that fumble? That should not be held against them. And that fluke of a foward fumble i personally disagree i think the D played well where the offense dropped the ball this game

  8.  BLU-82 says:

    Just wanted to say it seems a lot of us are blaming penalties for the loss to the skins, and while that is technically true, that’s not just an accident. I defer to Jimmy Kempski of Blogging the Beast:

    “The Redskins took it to the Giants last night. There were some penalties here and there that were mental errors, but the biggest penalty of the game was the result of a Redskin defender making a play. It’s not like Will Beatty just held Rob Jackson because he had a brain fart or something. Jackson got a great get-off at the snap, had great speed around the edge, and Beatty had to hold him. That’s not a “We lost because we messed up” penalty. It’s a “We lost because they were better than us last night” penalty.”

    •  JimStoll says:

      I was saying this yesterday

      look, we got beat down by the skins

      the two disheartening take-aways for me were: 1. they told us they were going to do it and then they did; and 2. assuming he stays healthy, RG is someone we will have to contend with for a long long time

      much as Tom Brady can’t seem to beat Eli, we may well soon be saying the same about Eli and RG

      one thing I question is whether RG will cause us to change to a 3-4

      I will be very interested to see what the Ravens do defensively against the Skins

  9.  nynate says:

    Not sure if this has been bought up already and I’m sure there is probably a simple rules explanation for it, but when I was watching the game live and saw that fumble TD play, I wondered straight away why it wasn’t an illegal forward pass penalty against the Redskins. Didn’t the ball go forward from RGIII on the full to the WR?

    •  JimStoll says:

      don’t know the answer but it looked like a plain old fumble to me
      but who really cares, they were scoring on that drive anyway

      •  nynate says:

        Yeah, they looked like scoring on most of their drives, yet we still punt the ball away with 4 mins remaining hoping for an early Xmas present from them in the form of a 3 and out when our defence is at is most fatigued point in the game.

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