On the surface, the New York Giants appear to be set at the quarterback position. Eli Manning is only 30 years old, has the last name of a champion, looks presidential in his Wikipedia picture and has a Super Bowl MVP award on his resume.
But in a piece for ESPN.com, Scouts Inc.’s Matt Williamson claims that Manning is on the hot seat. His league-high 25 interceptions in 2010 were unacceptable, regardless of the fact about one third of them can be blamed on his receivers:
But Manning did force too many throws that he just should not have attempted. He also has not handled pressure as well as he has in the past, and the Giants’ protection also was not as strong as it has been.
Clearly Manning tried to do too much, and 25 interceptions are just too many — no matter what the circumstances. The Giants also have a very disturbing trend of deteriorating late in the season, which — fairly or not — reflects on the quarterback to some extent. I expect Manning to rebound and his receivers to mature. But last season’s performance does put Manning on the hot seat.
Giants general manager Jerry Reese was also critical of Manning recently, stating that Manning “tried to do too much at the end.”
“When the offensive line was a mixed bag and the receiver corps was a little bit of a mixed bag,” Reese said, “I thought he tried to do too much and I think it cost him some interceptions.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, forcing us to wonder if Reese and his peers will grow tired of Eli’s act if he continues to struggle in 2011.
Manning’s struggles stretch beyond 2010. He had the best season of his career in ’09, but still finished that campaign with 14 picks and a passer rating of 93.2, which failed to crack the top 10. Without that Super Bowl XLII legacy, Manning would simply be another “good but not great” quarterback.
With a relatively deep pool of quarterbacks up for grabs in the upcoming NFL draft — especially second- and third-round talent — we’re also wondering if the G-Men might consider taking a signal caller to put some added pressure on their current franchise QB.