COMMENTARY | Consider this resume for a moment: You are a starting quarterback in the National Football League. Your team has nearly twice as many turnovers (23) than any other team in the league (the next highest total is 15). You've thrown 15 interceptions in six games, the same number you threw in 16 games a season ago. You've also lost a couple of fumbles.
Your completion percentage is at its lowest since you were in your second year. Your quarterback rating hasn't been this low since you were a rookie.
Sounds like a quarterback who might be flirting with a trip to the sidelines, right?
But it's not that simple for the New York Giants. For starters, Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP who is supposedly in the prime of his career. But he is playing behind an offensive line that has been about as effective stopping pass rushers as a sieve is at stopping water. Manning has already been sacked 16 times in six games. In 2010, he was sacked 16 times in 16 games.
Still, Manning has thrown eight of his 15 picks in the fourth quarter, five more than any other quarterback in the NFL. The Giants are 0-6 and if they played in any other division besides the mediocre to moribund NFC East, they'd already be buried in terms of playoff chances.
Their point differential of minus-106 would be the worst in the NFL if not for the presence of the even-worse-than-the-Giants Jacksonville Jaguars (minus-128). They've lost by 18 and 15 points at home to the Denver Broncos and Eagles, respectively. They've lost on the road by 24 points at Kansas City and 38 points at Carolina (a team they beat a year ago 36-7 on the same field).
The Giants can't run the ball. But they're not throwing it too well, either, and hanging onto it seems to be an issue as well. Add to that the fact they're not really doing too great a job of stopping other teams from running it or throwing it and, well, you have a recipe for the team's worst season in decades.
But is benching Eli Manning the answer?
Curtis Painter isn't the answer. Painter has bounced in and out of the NFL for the last five seasons since coming out of Purdue. He made eight starts for the Indianapolis Colts in 2011 in place of Eli's injured brother, Peyton Manning, and lost every one of them. He got into one game so far this year, mopping up in the 38-0 embarrassment at the hands of the Panthers, and threw four passes, one of them to the guys in the wrong-colored jerseys.
Ryan Nassib? The fourth-round pick out of Syracuse didn't exactly light it up against third-stringers in the preseason. He was just 7-for-19 for 114 yards and was sacked five times in three preseason games.
The odds are pretty good that if a guy was bad against a bunch of defenders who are now on practice squads or selling insurance, he's probably going to be bad against starting NFL defensive players.
While the New York press has been hot on the topic of benching Eli since Thursday's loss at Chicago, in which Manning threw three more picks (including one that came back for a touchdown) in a 27-21 defeat, the truth is there's not really a viable alternative out there.
Think about who is available on the street right now. Vince Young hasn't been good enough to beat out Curtis Thigpen in Buffalo last year or Seneca Wallace in Green Bay this year. David Carr wasn't even good enough to beat out Painter or Nassib at Giants camp this summer. Does anyone think bringing in either of those quarterbacks will be an improvement over Eli Manning?
Manning is a symptom of the biggest problem the New York Giants have right now, not a cause. It's hard to be an effective, accurate passer when one is running for his life on nearly every dropback.
Until the offensive line is fixed (a tall order given the injuries the Giants are coping with up front), the offense is going to sputter.
Benching Eli Manning doesn't fix that problem. If only it were that simple.
Phil Watson is a freelance commentator and journalist who covers the New York Giants, New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is also editor of brewers101.com and holds an editorial position at HoopsHabit.com.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- New York Giants
- Eli Manning
- Peyton Manning
- National Football League