COMMENTARY | An 0-3 start certainly isn't how the New York Giants envisioned the beginning of the 2013 NFL season, and more importantly, neither is the dismal performance of Eli Manning through Week 3.
New York may rank fifth in the NFL in passing yards, but that doesn't mean a thing when you're not converting third downs and putting the ball in the end zone. The Giants' 38-0 blowout loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday not only highlighted how weak the Giants defense is, but it also highlighted a budding issue this season: the decision making and play of Manning.
Now, I understand it's nearly impossible to run an offense with a poor offensive line and dead running game, but that's no excuse for Manning and the rest of the Giants' aerial attack, which ranks 27th in the league in terms of passer rating.
Manning leads the NFL in interceptions with eight, including four against the Denver Broncos in Week 2 and three vs. the Dallas Cowboys in the 2013 season opener for New York. He's yet to post better than a 65-percent completion percentage in a game, and finished Sunday's debacle against the Panthers with a 7.2 QBR.
One could say the lack of chemistry and workout time with receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks during the offseason is now coming back to hurt the three-time Pro Bowler, and they may not necessarily be too far off.
Cruz has 16 receptions on 27 targets while Nicks has compiled just nine receptions on 17 targets. Of course Cruz had that monster game against Dallas in Week 1 and another great day against Denver the following week, but it's clear to see the chemistry isn't there between Manning and all of his receivers, especially Nicks.
Nicks' frustration came to a head following Sunday's loss to Carolina--in which the star WR was targeted once and didn't record a reception--saying "I can't throw it to myself," which didn't go over well with head coach Tom Coughlin, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano.
To be honest, you can't blame Nicks. It's not necessarily all of Manning's fault that the Giants' offense is sputtering, but on the other hand, there's no reason why Manning should be taking all of these sacks.
Manning is tied with Michael Vick for being the second-most sacked quarterback in the league with 11 sacks, highlighted by seven takedowns against the Panthers in Week 3. There are situations when you don't see a corner sneaking around the edge and you have to eat the ball, but some of these sacks are blatant blitzes by the opposing defense in which Manning needs to get rid of the ball, either to a receiver or out of bounds.
With Chris Snee and David Baas both dealing with injuries, the road only gets more bumpy for the Giants, who will travel to a Kansas City Chiefs team in Week 4 that ranks first in the NFL in sacks.
Kevin Gilbride definitely isn't helping New York's stammering offense, calling running plays on second-and-long, but the struggles of the Giants' offense largely rest upon Eli Manning's shoulders.
Pete Schauer is a native of the Jersey Shore where he covers the New York Giants, Brooklyn Nets and New York Yankees as a Yahoo Sports contributor. You can follow him on Twitter @Pete_Schauer and find him on Google+.
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