Due to a few poor games earlier this season, the status of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was once again called into question. Forget the two Super Bowl MVP's and numerous franchise records, the real question was (and remains): is he elite? Well, old friend and current New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo says, emphatically, "yes."
“You described it: He’s elite,” Spagnuolo said. “There aren’t many that are elite. He’s one of them. He’s another one of those guys.”
Spagnuolo had a front row seat for Manning's first Super Bowl victory and Super Bowl MVP, but that was five long years ago and Peyton's younger brother is vastly better now than he was then. Accordingly, the familiarity has been keeping Spags up at night, as his worst-ranked defense will be in charge of shutting Manning & Co. down this coming Sunday.
“He is the kind of guy that doesn’t get rattled,” Spagnuolo said. “He sits big in the pocket. People will say he’s not a scrambler, yet you can always find some plays in a game where he gets himself out of trouble, puts the ball downfield right on somebody and makes a big play. We have to be prepared for everything.”
Although Manning won't directly face off against Drew Brees, Spagnuolo's biggest asset may be the team's quarterback. The veteran is 4-0 in his career against the Giants, having thrown 11 TDs and 0 INTs with a QB Rating of 122.1. In his last two meetings with the Giants, he has thrown for 8 TDs and 0 INTs with a QB Rating of 143.8.
Needless to say, for a team struggling to stop anything, the best defense may be a good offense. Then again, Spagnuolo knows Big Blue has some talent on defense as well … especially in cornerback Corey Webster.
“It’s really great, from afar, to watch him grow and mature as a player and as an adult. He is one of my favorite guys.”
The Giants will certainly need both Manning and Webster, as well as everyone else, to step up big on Sunday or risk losing complete and total control of the NFC East and their playoff hopes.
Also…Corey Webster, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Football, New Orleans Saints, New Orleans, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Steve Spagnuolo