In New York, mention Eli Manning and the talk quickly turns to how much responsibility he bears for the New York Giants’ 1-7 record and how soon he should be replaced as the team’s franchise quarterback.
Should rookie third-round pick Davis Webb get some snaps this season? Should he, perhaps, even start a couple of games? Should the Giants draft a quarterback if they end up with a top-5 selection in the 2018 NFL Draft? How much longer should Manning be the team’s quarterback? How good is he at this point in his career, anyway?
In San Francisco, where abominable quarterback play led the rebuilding 49ers to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, the perspective on Manning is much different.
“He’s still a Hall of Fame quarterback. I don’t understand the New York media, no disrespect,” said 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. “He’s good man. He can make every throw. He’s accurate. He stands in there and will take a beating and still get up and still make unbelievable throws.
“Like every quarterback, you’ve got to make him uncomfortable. That’s the challenge for us up front is to find a way to make him uncomfortable, like it is every week.”
In his weekly interview with Michael Eisen of Giants.com, Giants coach Ben McAdoo indicated this week that perhaps he is as guilty as anyone of not always appreciating his quarterback.
“I think that sometimes I take for granted the type of guy he is and the way he prepares. I say things in press conferences where you have to hold all players accountable. He’s accomplished so many things in this league at a high level, but he still needs to be held accountable. The past is something that we all learn from and we all hold dearly in some instances, and some instances we don’t. I respect everything he’s done and accomplished in this league.
“But right now, we need to win and we need to play better and I don’t like to grade players in the media or in the public, but everyone needs to be held accountable and he’s going to be held accountable just like everybody else in this building that’s under my watch. Period. Does that mean I don’t have faith and confidence in him? Heck no. I've got a ton of faith, a ton of confidence in him. I always have. I always will. Do I say it enough to him? Probably not. I wasn’t raised in a warm and fuzzy environment, but I do have a lot of confidence in Eli and I have confidence that we’re going to right this ship and make a run.”
I have indicated a number of times my belief that it would be in the Giants’ best long-term interest to see at least a little of Webb in action this season. Also, that the Giants have to seriously consider quarterback with their first-round pick in the upcoming draft.
Still, I believe Manning remains capable of playing quality football. Sure, he made a couple of inexcusably poor throws last week. At some point, every quarterback misses some throws he should complete. I still believe it is hard to accurately judge Manning because of the dysfunction around him. If the Giants had a good offense and his play was dragging it down that would be apparent. But, they don’t and for the most part he isn’t.
The Giants need to prep seriously for their future, but it isn’t time to kick Manning to the curb just yet.
Franchise quarterbacks with two Super Bowl MVP trophies don’t grow on trees. The Giants are going to miss Manning when he’s gone.