For the serious-minded football folks, the fear of a career-risky injury to New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has remained in the forefront of thoughts during many of this season’s football games. There is only so much pummeling that a franchise quarterback can take behind an offensive line that makes the one former Giants backup signal-caller David Carr lined up (in early 2k years) and became shell-shocked behind look almost all-world.
Instead of yelling at that turnstile of linemen that were supposed to protect him this year and demanding improvement begin there, Manning is always remarking on how he just wants to improve.
“I talked to coach” Manning said. “It never came up as a question whether I wanted to play or not and I never thought about it any other way but going out there and playing. I want to compete. I want to make improvements and try to run this offense more efficiently and go out there and try to do the best I can and try to get a win.”
While that’s commendable, there should be a point where, if during a game, attempts to win (i.e.: comeback) are futile, why not save him/his 32 year-old body which was sacked a career-high 36 times so far this season by pulling him out. Remember that sacks aren’t the only time Manning is hit. Being worried about the captain of the offense is a legit concern. Against the Seattle Seahawks, this was finally done as quarterback Curtis Painter saw some snaps under center.
Manning is only going to put himself out there to the media, but at what cost? He claims he has no worries playing behind linemen that were practice squad guys not long ago. Wait. What?
“We weren’t talking about the offensive line [to head coach Tom Coughlin], but just trying to get some ideas for this week and how to get the offense playing better, get me playing better and just some general thoughts of everything that’s gone on and how we can make some improvements quickly…I think our guys will be…They’ll be ready. They’ll compete.”
While the face of the franchise says the right things, the organization and the team need his talent around a bit longer. Manning denies an issue with his confidence, but to mask one with the guys in the trenches “protecting” is ludicrous. How many out there are up and trying to avoid a sack (from wherever you are) while in the pseudo-comfort of watching the games?
“That’s just part of it. You go out there and you’ve got to have confidence in them that they’re going to do their jobs, just like they have confidence I’m going to do my job and so it doesn’t change. Obviously you try to maybe do some things to protect that. … I have the confidence I can make the throws and do what I’ve got to do to win”, said Manning. “Sometimes in football…sometimes things don’t go your way and you can’t catch a break on some things. I know I’ve got to play better, but I know I can do that and get back to playing at a high level.”
As much as armchair coaches and general managers have “suggestions”, Manning also has a message for those who want him totally benched for these last two games in order to focus on 2014.
“I’m not focused on next year quite yet,” Manning said. “I’m still looking forward to this year and getting guys and getting better and making improvements.”
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