Eli Manning Must Take Stronger Leadership Role If Giants Are to Salvage Season

Kristopher KnoxFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 15:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants walks off the field following the game against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium on September 15, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Broncos defeat the Giants 41-23. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

There's just no getting around it.

The 2013 New York Giants are an absolute mess.

Three weeks of play have netted the Giants three consecutive losses by a combined score of 115-54 and there is plenty of blame to go around.

The defense is giving up a league-worst 38.3 points per game, the team's leading rusher, David Wilson, is averaging just three yards per carry and quarterback Eli Manning has thrown a league-high eight interceptions.

With a Week 4 road matchup with the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs looming on the horizon, the Giants are on the verge of having their season completely unravel.

According to Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger, head coach Tom Coughlin has even gone so far as to challenge the team's pride in an effort to keep the locker room from falling apart at this early stage in the young season.

While Coughlin has developed a reputation as a team motivator, there is another member of the Giants organization who needs to step up and take control in these dark times.

I'm talking about Mr. Manning.

Now in his 10th season, Manning is firmly entrenched as the face of the Giants franchise and the unquestioned leader of the team's locker room.

Manning's style of leadership isn't for everyone. He is quiet, reserved, professional and rarely shows emotion on the field, save for the occasional sour face after throwing a pick or poor incompletion.

He certainly isn't the emotional leader that many teams prefer to have under center and is in stark contrast to that of his older brother, Peyton. However, through nine seasons, his style has helped deliver two Super Bowl championships and has helped the team weather numerous rough patches.

Eli has never had to navigate through this kind of storm, though, and it may finally be time for the former Mississippi star to take a page out of his brother's playbook and become the vocal leader the Giants clearly need at this point.

Peyton has long been known for challenging under-performing teammates and demanding perfection from those around him.

Eli, for his part, seems to realize that he now needs to do the same.

“Obviously, I have to do something just to pick up our performance,” he said, per The Star-Ledger. “So we’ll see in practice if certain guys need to be challenged, we’ll see how it goes. I’ll try to do whatever I think needs to be done to get guys playing at a high level.”

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 15: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos and brother quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants shake hands at the end of the Denver Broncos 41-23 win over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on S
Ron Antonelli/Getty Images

Right now, New York is not playing at a high level, and it may take more than quiet leadership to get things back on track.

Manning may even have to light a proverbial fire or two. 

Someone certainly needs to, or else the Giants' locker room, and season, is going to quickly fall apart.