After patiently waiting for the uproar over Eli Manning’s play this past Monday to end, I figured I would touch on the subject myself.
Except I am not going to blame Eli’s disappointing play on lack of talent like a lot in the sports world currently are, but rather look at his lackluster play as a result of the fact that he is his own worst enemy.
I will admit, I am not Eli Manning’s No. 1 fan, but I know the man has talent.
And although he will never be among the “elite” like he thinks he is (wishful thinking on your part Eli—props), he is still a good quarterback and not abysmal like most are making him out to be right now.
In my opinion, that is pretty impressive, especially since it marked his second consecutive year with more than 4,000 passing yards.
He also finished the year ranked fourth with a career best 33 TD passes.
Are these numbers that a horrible quarterback puts up?
Don’t think so.
The obvious problem was Eli’s number of turnovers.
To be fair, at least a good 5-7 of his interceptions were caused by tipped balls that could have been easily caught by his receiving corps.
But it was not the number of turnovers that bothered me most.
It was the manner in which they happened.
It does not matter if the whole opposing defense is rushing a quarterback, unless there is an open man, the ball must be thrown away.
As we saw in 2011—and are currently still being subjected to this preseason—Eli still is clearly not grasping that concept.
There is no excuse for a QB tossing a ball—with the arm that he does not even throw with—into the arms of the defense in the red zone just because he is under pressure.
Eli’s major issue is that he needs to learn to throw the ball away and not get as flustered as he does in the pocket—it is as simple as that.
I was absolutely speechless Monday night when he resorted to throwing off of his back foot—similar to his rookie days—right over the middle of the field because he saw the blitz coming.
Stop over thinking every play and just throw the ball away—and not into the middle of the field!
He needs to get in touch with his inner Super Bowl XLII MVP who was patient enough to escape a pile of Patriot rushers to make a throw that would lead to one of the best plays of all time.
When Eli is calm and composed, that is when we see his true talent that may not put him in the category of elite, but sure puts him in that “very good” category right below it.
Of course that composure depends on the job the O-linemen do to contain pressure, but Manning has put together some nice looking drives even with all-out blitzes coming at him.
There are those impressive drives, and then the ones where he becomes so flustered that he attempts to run down the field for a first down and instead tumbles head-first and fumbles the ball like a hot mess.
The good thing about these problems is that they have nothing to do with talent, contrary to what a lot of football fans are preaching.
However, the bad thing is that football is just as mental as it is physical—maybe even more so—and until Eli stops making flat out dumb choices and learns to relax, this is what Giant fans will see from him.
If I had to label Eli in his current state, I would say that he is a good quarterback with the potential to be very good.
I think it is pretty safe to say that I—along with the rest of football fans—will be keeping a close eye on Manning this season and this will probably be one of many articles to come regarding his play.
Simply put, Eli’s problems are in his head, not in his arm.