There are no excuses this season for Eli Manning. He needs to take the Giants to the playoffs.
Now, there really is not much debate about how important the quarterback position is in the NFL. When you look at the landscape of the NFC East, the other starting quarterback are Kirk Cousins (Washington), Dak Prescott (Dallas) and Carson Wentz/Chase Daniel (Philadelphia). There is no debate whatsoever with who is the best and most reliable starting quarterback in this division and he is a New York Giant. The Giants should be the favorites to win the NFC East heading into the start of the season in 2016 and Manning needs to lead the way.
The Giants transitioned this offseason from Tom Coughlin as head coach and they named former offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo the new boss. General Manager Jerry Reese spent $200 million dollars in the offseason to improve what was a putrid defense in 2015, one that ranked dead last in total defense and proved to be little more than a speed bump to opposing offenses. They brought in Olivier Vernon to help out the pass rush, cornerback Janoris Jenkins to help out the secondary, and defensive tackle Damon Harrison to help stabilize the run defense. I understand there are questions along the offensive line with the development of Ereck Flowers at left tackle and the right side of the offensive line. But the Giants are poised to field a strong overall team this season.
This is an organization that has not made the playoffs in four straight seasons. That is why they decided to make a coaching change. The team and the organization needed a new voice and ownership wanted better results.
For Manning, he did not have to learn a new offense with McAdoo sliding over from offensive coordinator to head coach. Manning has the weapons at the skill positions that would make most quarterbacks jealous, including arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL in Odell Beckham Jr.
Of course, the critics have always been there for Eli. He has been ridiculed sometimes for the goofy faces, the ugly throws and the poor decisions. The defenders have countered with his performances in the clutch and certainly his two Super Bowl crowns. He has had to deal with the comparisons to his older brother Peyton, who had a better career and a bigger impact on the game. He has had to deal with the expectations of being the son of Archie and the brother of Peyton and all the good and the bad that comes along with that. In essence, Eli Manning has dealt with a lot in a Giants uniform and has handled it all very well.
This year, he deals with the expectations to win again. No, I don’t expect the Giants to win the Super Bowl this season. But, to be honest, I did not expect them to win in 2007 and 2011 either.
I expect the Giants to make the playoffs this season. Manning needs to lead the way and when you compare him to the other quarterbacks in the division, there is no comparison. I know football is a team game and he needs his offensive line to protect and his defense to stop somebody. However, the quarterback can be the great equalizer in the NFL. It is the most important position in the National Football League and Manning is the best starting quarterback in the NFC East.
Money was spent in the off-season to solve some issues with the team. Manning needs to show in 2016 that it was money well spent.