Nothing has been more irritating than the constant criticism of Eli Manning for the struggles of the New York Giants in recent years.
This is a franchise with high expectations. This year will likely mark the sixth of the last seven season in which the Giants have failed to make the playoffs since winning Super Bowl XLVI. Change is needed, but it’s needed in areas that don’t include moving on from Manning just yet.
Manning is currently tied with Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Dak Prescott, for the league lead having been sacked 38 times. That’s not by any means a category you want to lead the league in, but it also isn’t a category to blame any quarterback for.
Those 38 sacks put Manning on pace to be dropped behind the line of scrimmage 55 times this season. That’s 16 more than his current career high of 39, set in 2013. The last time someone was sacked more than 55 times was also 2013, when Ryan Tannehill was dropped 58 times.
If you don’t like throwing the blame on the offensive line, let’s take a look at Manning’s numbers…
According to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano’s research, Manning on pace for career highs in terms of completion percentage, passer rating and the lowest interception total of his career. He is also on pace to throw for just under 4,500 yards, which would be the second highest total of his 15-year career.
Those numbers don’t look like they’re being put up by a quarterback who needs to retire.
In fact, these numbers look like those of a quarterback who, if he played behind an offensive line that hadn’t allowed the second-most sacks in the NFL, would have his team in position to make the playoffs.
Shifting away from the offensive line, the Giants defense has allowed opponents to score over 26 points per game on average. That ranks 25th in the league. They’ve also allowed more rushing touchdowns this year than they did all last season. Finally, the 373 yards per game they’re giving up is better than only the horrific defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
One thing working against Manning is that next year, in the final year of his contract, he’ll result in a salary cap hit of $23.2 million. In order to enable the Giants to provide him with better pieces on the offensive line and the defense, both sides will likely look to restructure a deal for the quarterback who’s earned well over $200 million throughout his career.
So, please, keep telling me how Eli Manning is the problem when the Giants offensive line and defense both rank in the bottom two in the NFL, and he ranks eighth in completion percentage, tenth in yards and has thrown fewer interceptions than Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Patrick Mahomes.