Giants Eli Manning Deserves a Break

The New York Giants have had plenty of problems the past two seasons. But the least of those problems has been quarterback Eli Manning.

I've never been a big Manning fan or supporter. In fact, there have been plenty of seasons since he joined the team during which I have said to many, "He stinks." But this year, I find myself being one of  Eli's biggest boosters, particularly when listening to sports talk in the car or watching some football commentary on TV.

No one can hear me, of course, but I have to grumble, growl, and bark when the talk is about the Giants needing a quarterback right now, the Giants playing an untested rookie, or the Giants not doing the right thing in the 2018 NFL draft.

Here's what's driving me crazy this season.

The Giants should have used their first pick, second overall, to choose a quarterback. Nonsense. The team picked the best player available, and as it turns out, Saquon Barkley is having the biggest impact of the group of QBs the Giants should have taken and the player they did.

For weeks leading up the the draft, we heard about what the Giants should do. For weeks after the draft, we heard about what the Giants should have done, and for weeks into the season, that same conversation raged on, even while Barkley made electric play after electric play.

No, Manning wasn't great during the 1-7 first half. But the Giants could have been 3-5 had the offensive line played any good at all in front of the QB, and had the defense been able to make two more stops.

The defense is terrible, yet the Manning must go talk overshadows why the Giants aren't unbeaten in the second half of the season. In fact, they are 3-1 in spite of the defense.

In the second half of the season, the offensive line has been remarkably improved. Manning has unsurprisingly been better. But the defense is the reason the Giants aren't unbeaten in the last four games. There are too many missed tackles and stupid penalties to count.

In a game the Giants were winning big against Chicago, the defense nearly gave the game away in the last 1:35. But the offense, behind an improved line, the amazing Barkley, and Manning, pulled it out in overtime.

Manning cannot be the quarterback of the Giants next year, put forth by numerous commentators. The Giants have to go get a gap quarterback. Manning isn't be the guy to break in someone new. He's been here too long and won't do it, they continue.

The Giants have a running back, and receivers, and tight ends. They will be back. The offensive line will continue to grow. The defense may or may not be fixed next season. Manning has a year on his contract. Why not let him have his last moments in the only place he's ever played? Why create a problem by bringing in someone of lesser ability before any potentially drafted college QB is ready to go? With Manning still under contract, why can't the heir apparent take a full year to adjust and start in year two?

Many Giants fans and members of the media seem to have endured Manning's many mediocre seasons because of his two Super Bowl wins and two Super Bowl MVPs. So what I don't understand is the same mantra from everyone about how the Giants screwed up not picking a quarterback in the draft, showing an incredible lack of respect to Barkley, and about how Manning must suddenly go.

Manning's time in New York is coming to an end, along with his playing days. And very soon, the Giants will have a new quarterback. But it'll happen all in good time. And if the defense makes remarkable strides in the off-season, there may be a little magic left in 2019.