Although many NFL fans tend to link the success of a team’s starting quarterback to the success of the team in general, it seems the Giants this season are having a hard time in spite of the efforts of quarterback Eli Manning.
The team is just 3-5 with the loss to Indianapolis on Monday night. Already its playoff hopes are slipping away, and yet Manning is having one of his best ever seasons in many respects. If his completion rate of 62.5 percent holds up, it will be his highest since 2010. If his 3:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio holds up, it will be the highest of Manning’s career.
The Giants still struggle, though. They are 19th in the NFL with 22.3 points per game and scored just three points during the first half against the Colts on Monday. Critics point to the lack of deep completions from Manning as a reason for the offensive woes. The signal caller is just 3-for-24 on passes over 20 yards this season.
“The other night, a couple of those balls, I think he had some people at his feet,” said head coach Tom Coughlin, “I didn’t think on one occasion the receiver was open, so he threw it over his head out-of-bounds. The ball was high at times during the game the other night. Fundamentally, he obviously just has to get the ball down. He knows that. We talked about it and hopefully we will get better at that.”
Even considering the lack of deep plays, it’s hard to pin the offense’s struggles entirely on Manning. He’s lost his favorite target Victor Cruz to a season-ending patellar injury. The offensive line has been inconsistent in pass protection, and the running game has all but disappeared since Rashad Jennings went down with a knee injury.
With all those factors working against him, Manning has still managed to keep the Giants afloat. He’s been a better player this season under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
“An awful lot was done to ensure that Eli be given a chance to come back and play very well this year,” said Coughlin, “I think that the quarterback attests to that. It wasn’t quite as high the other night as it had been. His play has given us a chance.” Besides McAdoo, another key addition has been first-round draft pick Odell Beckham Jr. Although he didn’t play in a game until Week 5, Beckham has been a key weapon for the New York attack, and he’ll have to step up his game to give the Giants a chance in Seattle this Sunday. “He is coming off a game in which he played against two outstanding corners and he is going to do the same thing this weekend,” said Coughlin.