Whether you feel the game-deciding interception last week in Chicago was a result of a poor Eli Manning moment or just a blown catch on the part of Brandon Myers, it’s clear that Eli and Myers have been unable to find any real chemistry this season. This could be due to a multitude of reasons considering the entire team has struggled and surely there is a trickle-down effect stemming from the trenches as the offensive line has been a work in progress. Nonetheless there is no denying that there has been a lack of production from the tight end position for the 0-6 Giants.
For all the criticism Manning has received as a result his poor play, Myers has not made his job any easier. Aside from some garbage time yardage, Myers has been relatively quiet this season after a solid and surprising one last year with the Oakland Raiders. So is it Eli who has been unable to get Myers the ball like Carson Palmer did last year, or is Myers a one-hit-wonder who has been unable to get open?
Perhaps it is a little of both, plus the fact that Myers was essentially the only relatively reliable receiver on that Raider team. The fact remains that Myers has been unable to perform as the security blanket Eli needs in the middle of the field, on intermediate routes, and in the red zone.
Former Giant, Martellus Bennett, is living proof as to what a big athletic target can do for a quarterback as he has been a major force on third downs and in the red zone for Jay Cutler, something Eli has been missing as the Giants have struggled mightily on third downs. Though there are many other contributing factors to those problems, a quality tight end could alleviate the pain to some extent. Couple Myers’ inability to be consistent with his often woeful blocking, and one begins to question whether Myers’ production is worth the risk in the running game, not to mention his pass blocking if Eli ever wants to audible into max protection.
Then there was the way in which Myers handled last week’s debacle. Myers did not face the reporters after the game, though there could have been a personal reason so there isn’t much to delve into there. However later in the week, when asked who was to blame for the lost opportunity, Myers claimed that no one could be blamed for Eli’s final interception. Rather redundantly, he added the obvious when stating,
“It was unfortunate, I was there and we just didn’t connect. Obviously I wanted to make the play, but it didn’t turn out," he said.
Then when asked if the throw had to come in high by design, as Eli alluded to on Thursday night, Myers neither acknowledged nor discredited the notion by simply stating, “it changes every time.”
Eli on the other hand was quick to act as a leader and take responsibility for the errant throw rather than tip toe around the pointed fingers. Myers could just be stating his honest opinion but that doesn’t change the fact that he has not been very effective in any facet of the game. While Myers still has time to prove that he belongs in the offense, he is quickly running out of time, and after last week’s crucial turnover, Myers has now been put on notice if he wasn’t already.
Assuming Myers struggles the remainder of the season, it would be tough to argue that the Giants shouldn’t seek a replacement in the offseason. Dilemma is however; quality tight ends that can be effective in both the pass and run game are rare to come by in free agency. One name many have suggested is Brandon Pettigrew of the Lions, unfortunately he has been plagued by injuries and inconsistency, thus would not be much of an upgrade to Myers. If free agency is not the answer, the Giants really should consider drafting a young, sure-handed, athletic tight end to give Eli quite possibly the best receiving corps in the NFL, assuming Hakeem Nicks remains a Giant. Is there such a TE in the draft that could come in and make plays in the air while also being efficient in the blocking game?
Austin Sefarian-Jenkins of the Washington Huskies is widely considered the best tight end in the upcoming draft, and could very well be the answer. Currently projected to go late in the first round, Sefarian-Jenkins could be a game changer if the Giants continue to struggle and finish with a top five pick. He would be worth giving up the early second round as well as a later pick to move up and get, assuming he is still available. That is especially true if the team for some reason does decide to trade Nicks. A simple YouTube search should show that even at his worst, Eli would have a hard time missing this target.
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