The New York Giants are 1-7. Their season is over and they have nothing to play for, at least in terms of the playoffs.
They also have a rookie quarterback, Davis Webb, sitting on the bench, and will likely be picking at – or near – the top of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Giants could draft a quarterback with their first pick. Before doing so, however, they might want to see what they have in Webb, a third-rounder out of Texas Tech.
Hmm, what will the Giants do for the remainder of this season?
“If you’re talking about benching Eli, you might as well stop,” two-time Super Bowl champion and CBS Sports NFL analyst David Diehl said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I get it’s a delicate situation and you’re building for the future. That’s one of the toughest things as we’re sitting here watching because they’re losing years of Eli in his prime. So it is difficult and you have to think about the future, but if you think that Eli Manning is part of the problem, that’s insane. Yes, there were throws that he could have made, and yes, he did miss Tavarres King in this last game. But have you seen the throws that he’s made on third down with people draped around him with people falling at his legs? Have you seen some of the hits that he’s taken this year? Have you seen him once complain to the media about any of it? Have you heard him ever in his career complain about any of that stuff? Absolutely not.”
Manning has completed 63.2 percent of his passes for 1,820 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. His leading receiver is rookie tight end Evan Engram, who has been one of few bright spots on a Giants team that has been tough to watch.
And yet, many feel that the Giants are at a crossroads, especially with Manning turning 37 in January.
“It’s never as good as you think, and it’s never as bad as you think,” Diehl said. “Just because he has that even-keel demeanor, people don’t think he has that fire. But when things are unbelievable all around him and he’s throwing the football well, he’s so calm and collected. And then when things are bad, he’s showing no emotions. He’s the same person day in and day out. When it comes to Eli Manning, there is not another quarterback that I would put my life on in those games in the years that I played that I would rather have behind me than Eli Manning because of his preparation, the way he approaches the game, and his love and his desire to bring out the best not only in himself, but his teammates. So I understand that you want to see what the long-term future is by having Davis Webb get some opportunities, but to sit here and say that Eli is the problem and they should take him out, I would be completely against that.”
The Giants started 0-5 but were at least competitive, as three of the losses came by five points or fewer. This past Sunday, though, was a different story. The Giants lost at home, 51-17, to the Rams.
What has been New York’s problem this year? Philosophy? Effort? Execution? All of the above?
“I wish I was able to put my finger on the exact pulse of what it is,” Diehl said. “Obviously to sit here and say that injuries didn’t play a factor would be completely false. Think about the offense. Everything would go through Odell Beckham Jr.”
OBJ, however, broke his ankle in Week 5.
“But you can’t blame losses on injuries,” Diehl said. “It happens in the NFL. It happens week in and week out, year in and year out. The great players, the ones that understand that it’s a privilege to be in the NFL, that it’s not just something given to you and that you have to earn it, those guys are the ones that step up and those are the ones that are going to find ways to be successful and prove who they are as football players. Fo those pretenders, those who don’t work as hard, they’re the ones that are going to be highlighted. They’re the ones that defensive coordinators and offensive coordinators are going to attack, and pretty soon those players won’t be in the NFL.”