New York Giants: 4 Reasons to Believe Eli Manning Will Bounce Back in 2011
The criticism had quieted for a while after two very productive years in which he took care of the ball, but the turnovers reared their ugly head again, allowing his critics to return from the shadows.
Let's get one thing straight—everyone needs to stop with the "He's not his brother" argument. We get it, and no one with a sane mind has ever compared him to Peyton. They have the same last name; that's all there is.
This article will show you three reasons why Eli Manning is due for a bounce-back year in 2011.
Plaxico Who? Hakeem Nicks Breaks out This Season
Hakeem Nicks is coming off a year in which he had 79 catches, 1,052 yards, and 11 touchdowns in just his second year.
Though he had a slow preseason, I expect huge numbers from Nicks this season, which should open up the offense for his franchise quarterback.
Eli Manning and Plaxico Burress had a great rapport, and he and Nicks are on that level now. Not only that, but Nicks beefed up during the offseason as this was the first time he wasn't rehabbing from an injury during the down time.
He added more strength to his arsenal, allowing him to get better separation on the line and muscle off corners on short routes. Add that to his deep-play ability, and you have a complete wide receiver.
A quarterback's best friend is his go-to receiver, and Nicks has emerged as one of the top young wide outs in the game, and this year he'll stamp his name among the elite.
The Giants Will Run the Ball More
At the end of last season, Coughlin expressed a wish that Brandon Jacobs would have gotten more carries. I tend to agree with him, as Jacobs was second in the league in yards per carry only behind Jamaal Charles.
The Giants are a power running team that use the run to set up play action, but the past two seasons they've thrown it a bit more than we are used to.
I believe they will get back to their bread and butter, which will open up the passing game the way it did when Plaxico Burress was still around.
Offensive Line Is Better, Despite Losing Two Key Components
If you asked me if this year's offensive line is better than the 2008 version, I would have said hell no. That said, this offensive line is better than last year's, and here's why.
Though the Giants led the league with the fewest sacks allowed, Eli Manning was still pressured often. Instead of taking the sack like Coughlin would have wanted, Manning would try and make a play.
Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. The bottom line is, David Diehl was one of the worst left tackles in football last year, and moving him to guard and Will Beatty to left tackle will give Eli more time to throw and fewer chances to force the issue while on the run or hurried.
Leading to my next point....
He Will Cut Down on the Turnovers; Last Year Was an Exception, Not the Rule
Eli Manning led the league in interceptions last year with 25, but what the haters won't tell you is that 10 of those interceptions were well-thrown balls that hit off a receiver's hands and into the hands of a defender.
He only had 10 and 14 interceptions in 2008 and 2009, respectively, so why should we believe he's going to keep leading the NFL in turnovers?
Everyone who knows anything about football noticed that Eli turned a corner as a quarterback during that Super Bowl run. Something in him clicked and it made us fans go "all right, he finally gets it."
So why are we supposed to just abandon all hope because he had a bad season? Drew Brees threw 22 interceptions; do you hear anyone talking about it?
I like how Brett Favre leads the NFL in interceptions in a career, but everyone gives him a pass because he was a "gunslinger," and Eli is a terrible quarterback because he had a bad year.
Nice double standard, haters.
I don't see Eli forcing the issue as much as he did last year. As long as he has a healthy group of wide receivers he can trust, it's going to be the 2009 Eli, not the 2010 version.