Is it just me, or are the New York Giants one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NFL on a weekly basis? Granted its for all the wrong reasons.
Another Giants game and yet another giant disappointment, this time coming at the hands of the struggling but still dangerous 2018 Super Bowl champion, Philadelphia Eagles.
I’ll start where the Giants appeared to have started themselves (paying some of the most attention and money to in the offseason), the Offensive Line. One of the biggest problems the Giants seem to have on a weekly basis is their ability to hold the line. Last year it was apparent in their lack of ability to develop a consistent run game; however, this year their run game has been the only reliable option. That’s in no part due to the O-line.
Saqoun Barkley is constantly making the first and second defenders miss tackles in the backfield, all while being forced to create his own holes because the line is letting players blow by them with ease. When Eli Manning is forced to look to throw the ball, his lack of mobility, and what looks to be no willingness to escape the pocket, make it all the more important for the offensive line to block effectively, giving their routes the opportunity to develop. Manning has been sacked a league high 20 times through 6 weeks. Not very good statistics considering they made Nate Solder one of the top 10 paid offensive lineman just this offseason.
Despite all this, the entire blame can't be laid on the massive shoulders of the offensive line. Eli Manning is having an absolute horrendous year. He has no arm strength, no drive execution, and no pocket presence. Shouldn't that warrant him to be considered not even capable of being an NFL starter anymore? It's to the point where I've heard some analysts say someone like Colin Kaepernick would be a better option on a weekly basis. The team is in desperate need of a more mobile quarterback who's capable of accurately sending the ball further than 15 yards downfield without looking gassed for the rest of the drive.
When playing in a prime time game such as the Thursday night game, you think you’d want to bring your A game, especially with the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles in town. Manning, however, didn't appear to bring any game at all. He looked disinterested in being there, and at times it felt as though the Giants are being forced to work along the employee who's a year from retirement and is just riding out the wave of his previous fame.
Manning was only able to find his connections with star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. from within 10 yards, with their longest hookup going for 12. This would force his receiver to work with the ball in his hands to create separation from the defensive backs instead of without. With the change in where Beckham is receiving the ball, his struggles were evident in the game. Fans must be just as frustrated as the highest paid receiver visibly is with his production.
OBJ has every right to be frustrated with the current situation, however I am not a "fan" of the headlines that this storyline is producing. Once again Beckham took his frustrations and anger out in a dual with an opponent that was many weight classes higher than his last (that pesky kickers net.) He turned his attention towards the industrial sized sideline fans to cool his anger.
Slicing each punch through the breeze, showing nothing but aggression each swing, with no worries of a counter attack this time. What bothers me, and should bother most, is that Odell is realistically only doing what coaches, the front office, and even the cruel media are allowing him to have the freedom to do as a superstar player in the NFL, and that's yell and scream to himself on the sideline; referencing no other names and hitting no one else around him. Could you picture what it would be like if Odell got so frustrated he just retired at halftime? If he just went to the media afterwards, tearing apart Manning and new head coach Pat Shurmur for his misuse. Just imagine what the headline would be then. Or what if Odell went back to the Odell of old and started throwing cheap shots at cornerbacks away from the ball? That fan looks pretty harmless now.
While I have no issues with Beckham showing his passion for the game, I can understand the want from others to have him show better emotional control, and express such feelings in a more productive manor. What's evident is that this team needs him to not only lead by example on the field, but on the sideline. Odell needs to set the culture in that locker room and create a more positive atmosphere. Especially for such a young, talented star in Saquan Barkley, whom I might add, wanted to be nothing but a member of the Giants franchise in the days prior to the NFL draft.
Being the highest paid player on the team, and one of the most talented in the league, there's an automatic responsibility to be a leader. Eli Manning once knew this responsibility, leading his team to multiple Super Bowls. It begs the question then as to why he's seemingly decided to not fight against the rapid downfall of the season. If we continue to see about as much emotion from him towards his team as we witnessed on his draft night, then it's clear Eli Manning and the Giants won't be able to be competitive this year.