Brett Favre and co-host Bruce Murray spent a good chunk of the Hall of Fame quarterback’s Wednesday SiriusXM Radio show discussing New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s struggles this season as his team has opened 1-3. And, not surprisingly, Favre believes the problems stem primarily from the lack of a quality, pass-protecting offensive line.
Favre, who has seen just one Giants game this season — Week 2’s 20-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys — said that the line “couldn’t protect at all.” And he seemed surprised that this has been an ongoing problem in New York, given the Giants have known what type of quarterback Manning is since 2004:
“I think going into this season is no different than going into Eli 10 years ago — really any season that he was the starting quarterback for the Giants — the way he plays the game has not changed. You have to protect him, he’s not going to win with his feet... he is who he is. And when you can protect him, he’s really good... I think his demeanor, I think his personality and I think his physically attributes really haven’t changed. And so, I think it’s up to the team and the organization to provide him... with adequate protection. You gotta figure out a way to protect the guy.”
Murray asked Favre if he’s been in a similar situation in his career, where a lack of offensive line protection left him feeling “gun shy,” to which Favre responded, “absolutely.” And speaking on his own experience, Favre provided what could be a glimpse into Manning’s thought process this season: “I think guys that are really, really, true competitors and have played a long time have a tendency when things go, if they go bad, that you try to do too much.”
However, Favre considers such a tendency “a good quality... yes, that gets you in trouble, and then more criticism falls upon you,” but that long-term starters like Manning do begin to “try to do too much when [games] are not going as well as you hoped.”
Favre also made it clear that Manning’s time hasn’t passed, saying that, “I think given good protection, I think we’ve seen an Eli [who] we’ve known to be there at the end. I think that’s still there. And I don’t see skills diminishing, I see an offensive line struggling to protect him right now. And if they can figure that out, I think you’ll see the Eli that we’ve know for so long.”
Murray also asked Favre about his experiences with self-doubt and whether those same feelings could creep into Manning’s mind should the Giants as a whole not improve as the season wears on. While Favre was clear that he “can only assume,” what’s going through Manning’s head, but in his experience he did doubt himself. “‘Do I still have it? Do people still believe in me? Is it my fault? What else can I do? What else should I do?’ All those thoughts crossed my mind,” said Favre, who believes such thoughts are inevitable.
“If you play long enough, you know the tides will turn and you will question [yourself.] I would think that any player that’s played a really long time, as long as Eli... has been around long enough [and] has had some adversity, questions whether or not they still have it.”