There have always been doubters of Eli Manning, but in the Giants’ locker room, the team is still rallying behind their quarterback.
The Giants have scored the sixth-fewest points in the NFL this season, a major issue for a team that was built to score touchdowns and move the ball. They are in the bottom third in terms of time of possession and third down percentage. The byproduct of the lack of production on offense is that their defense is on the field for most of the game and getting worn down all game long.
Coming off a disappointing 34-13 loss to the Eagles last Thursday, the need for the Giants to move the ball is being rightfully scrutinized. Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. are the centers of concern with the duo struggling to consistently gain traction this year.
A frustrated Odell Beckham Jr. explains what went wrong for the Giants in their 34-13 loss to the Eagles.
An issue and talk that, according to head coach Pat Shurmur, isn’t an issue within his locker room.
“That’s for people outside the building,” Shurmur said Tuesday.
“None of us have played or coached well enough to be where we want to be, so we own that. Outside the building, it’s always giving praise and assigning blame. That’s the noise that happens outside the building. We correct each play specifically, each situation specifically, each event in a game specifically, with the idea that if a mistake is made, you correct it and move on. The goal is to not have it happen again. That’s where it is.”
Ironically, the Giants’ offense outgained the Eagles in the loss.
The passing offense, in particular, is coming under increased scrutiny. But if it wasn’t for the production from rookie running back Saquon Barkley the past few weeks, the Giants’ passing game would be sputtering.
Part of the issue is an offensive line that still remains a work in progress. In Thursday’s loss, Manning was sacked four times.
It isn’t shocking then that Manning has one of the fastest times to throw in the NFL, on average releasing the ball in 2.61 seconds. This is especially worrisome as the quarterback being under constant pressure doesn’t allow time for the wide receivers to get open down the field.
And it isn’t by design like in some offenses, such as the New Orleans Saints, where they want the ball to come out of the hands of Drew Brees quickly to a hot route. Instead, the Giants want to let things develop down the field and that simply isn’t happening with an offensive line that is still developing.
From the noise outside the Giants practice facility, one would think that Manning is having a howler of a year. That isn’t the case.
Manning is on pace for a decent season, with projections of over 4,400 passing yards and 16 touchdowns (with 11 interceptions) far from a deplorable year. The stark number there is the low passing touchdown total, the byproduct of the lack of sustained drives and inability to convert on third down.
Importantly, he hasn’t lost his team.
“I have total faith in Eli,” wide receiver Sterling Shepard said.
“I haven’t heard that once in this locker room, I haven’t heard that from any individual player, so that’s just outside noise and stuff trying to break us apart. We’re doing a good job of keeping everything together in here. As far as in the locker room, we have total faith in him. We picked him as our starting quarterback at the beginning of the season and we’re going to ride with that.”
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