In the wake of several poor performances by Eli Manning, Giants players are rushing to defend their veteran quarterback.
“No one’s hitting the panic button on Eli Manning,” wide receiver Victor Cruz said.
The Giants are on a three-game skid, and Manning did not play well in the team’s most recent loss to the Packers in which he completed just 18 of 35 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown. Though Manning was inaccurate in that game, it’s worth noting that the offensive line — particularly left tackle Ereck Flowers — struggled to protect him. He completed 25 of 45 passes the week before in a loss to the Vikings and threw two picks in the team’s Week 3 loss to Washington.
Manning is 35, but teammates dismissed the notion that age is affecting their quarterback’s play.
“Whoever says that and goes with a stereotype, ‘Let me pull this out, the idioms of the world,’ that is just easy,” Rashad Jennings said. “If you really study the game and know how the game operates, you understand that the quarterback position is expressed as a team, so that is just an immature statement and no, he is not on the decline at all.”
Eli Manning isn’t getting much help from his offensive line as Giants are losers of three straight.
(Benny Sieu/USA Today Sports)
“I’m convinced he’s playing ’til 55 years old,” Cruz added. “At least in my mind.”
The receiver jokingly added that he hoped to still be playing when Manning is 55, too, but added, “I’ll have to talk to Jerry Reese about that one.”
Like Jennings, Cruz said he doesn’t see Manning’s age playing a role in the offense’s struggles.
“Everyone’s different, everyone ages differently,” Cruz said. “We’ve still got guys like Steve Smith still out there running around, shrugging defenders off and running for touchdowns. He’s what, 37 years old? So you never know how it affects different guys. Hopefully it doesn’t happen to him.”
Eli Manning completed just 25 of 24 passes in a loss to the Vikings on Oct. 3.
(Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Teammates emphasized Wednesday that Big Blue’s offensive struggles did not solely rest on Manning’s shoulders. Asked if it was unfair for Manning to be receiving criticism, Odell Beckham Jr. said, “Yes. I think when things go wrong everyone needs something to point at. It’s easy to point the finger here and there. Internally between all of us, we have to play better. We all need to do things to make it easier on him and on ourselves. Everyone needs to step it up.”
Manning was not helped by his offensive line against the Packers and certainly his three top receivers haven’t produced the way many expected them to. That’s all led the Giants to having the 27th-ranked scoring offense in the league through five games.
“Eli is a tremendous quarterback,” Jennings said. “He understands the position and a lot of the times the success and failures for most critics go to the quarterback, but our quarterback ratings and stats are collectively a team stat, so we have to play better. It is not all on one person at all, especially Eli.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News