Manning is coming off his first Pro Bowl season, one in which he led the Giants to a 12-4 mark and posted his best career statistical season. One lousy game, during which he certainly had very little help from his coaches and teammates, does not a bad season make. Hey, there's a reason the Giants just made him the top-paid player in the league. He's good.
What's even better is the fact that David Carr re-signed to stick around as Manning's backup. For obvious reasons, the Giants were plenty pleased th at they never had to call on Carr last season. They'd be just fine if that situation occurs again this season. But they do have confidence that he could get the job done, if need be. From talking to Carr, this sure seems like his last year with the Giants. He wanted another year away from the weekly poundings while waiting for some better opportunities to arise, which he expects to happen in 2010.
That's what makes the battle for the third QB so important. The Giants really need to make the right call here, because there's a strong possibility that the loser of the competition will end up elsewhere.
How high is Manning's ceiling?
This is one of those questions that no one could possibly answer with any conviction. Manning's heading into his sixth season with the Giants and his arrow is certainly pointing in the upward direction. But how much better can he get? Sure he made some huge plays along the way but during th e glorious championship run in 2007, it wasn't like Manning was being asked to throw the ball all over the place. But yet he's now being paid as if he has no peers. It's a very interesting time to see what develops in Giants land regarding their QB of now and the future. Early in camp we saw a little rust – his first long pass attempt was atrocious – but we also saw the quick and smooth delivery that led the Giants to go after him in the first place. Now that he has both the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl under his belt – not to mention the enormous contract – the expectations for Manning are going to be off the charts. Can he live up to them? Honestly, can anyone live up to them? Fans now know that he's being paid as the top dog. They're going to want to see it out of him on a weekly basis, with most of them likely showing very little patience for any bumps in the road.
From 2 can they find 3?
One of camp's most interesting and important battles is between incumbent Andre' Woodson and rookie Rhett Bomar. There's no doubt that the Giants think they're going to lose David Carr after this season, making the winner of this battle the odds-on favorite to get the first crack at backing up Manning next season. And before you go thinking about trying to sneak Bomar onto the practice squad you should realize that it's pretty unlikely that he'd clear waivers. So the Giants have quite a decision on their hands. This isn't to say that Jerry Reese doesn't like Bomar, but we sure know he's still strongly in Woodson's corner and did discuss during the draft not selecting Bomar because it would hurt Woodson's development. It's way too early to tell from anything that's happened up in Albany so far. But our guess is that Bomar wins the battle and the war.
Will they be better in '09?
The bar's already set pretty high, but we think that Manning can and will continue to develop. Obviously this opinion is based on him continuing the impressive durability he's shown since taking over the starting spot. But if he can make it through another season upright, there's no reason to think he won't be able to lead the Giants back to the playoffs and himself back to the Pro Bowl.
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