Did anyone else find Eli Manning's recent comment about New York Giants quarterbacks coach -- Manning's position coach, of course -- to be a little bit curious? I did. I know that Inside Football's Pat Traina did, as well.
In case you missed it, during a wide-ranging interview on Giants.com, Manning said something I found a little bit disturbing in the midst of talking about Sullivan.
"I have to get him thinking like a quarterback, not a receiver, which he's been working with the last six years."
Manning also said "it's been great working with him." Somehow, though, this sounds like the player teaching the coach how to do his job, and not the coach helping the player perform up to his capabilities.
Here is a little bit of Traina's take on the Sullivan-Manning dynamic.
At the Super Bowl this week, Manning, who reiterated that Sullivan wasn’t to blame for his interception issues, said, "I’ve been playing this game long enough where I know not to throw it to the opposing team. Coach Sullivan did a great job of getting me prepared and having game plans and breaking down all the film I wanted him to. "
What’s so interesting about that quote is that it sounds as though Manning was guiding Sullivan and not the other way around. And while Manning is by no means a young quarterback, he’s probably not quite at a point in his career where he no longer needs a position coach.
I would have to agree. If Eli is "coaching the coach," as seems to be the case, who is coaching Eli? Manning already runs his own weekly meetings with the receivers, so in a sense he is coaching them, too. Who calls out Manning when he makes a mistake? Who does Eli have who he can really discuss the position of quarterback with on a daily basis?
Sure, he can call his brother or his dad on occasion. Sure, he can talk to Gilbride at times. Sure, he can probably have some back-and-forth with a veteran backup like Sage Rosenfels. Shouldn't he be able to have those discussions with his position coach, though, rather than having to tell the position coach what he needs?
In no way am I blaming Eli's 25-interception season on Sullivan. As Manning has admitted, he knows better than to make some of the decisions he made. I am also not saying a person who has never played a position can't coach it. There are many examples of successful position coaches working at positions they never played. It simply can't be a good thing to have a quarterbacks coach who does not -- at least at this point -- see the game the way a quarterback needs to.