FantasySavvy 2018: The Book of Eli

Welp it’s all over, Eli Manning is done. His career? Over. Say goodbye. He can’t do anything. He’s worth a piece of turd left in a dirty napkin on the side of a highway. Bring in Kyle Lauletta the 4th rounder out of Richmond and let’s see if he’s the future. It’s all Eli’s fault, he’s a total disgrace, makes too much money and the organization should have given up on him years ago.

LOLL, This is the main narrative amongst the masses today after the Giants lost to the defending Champion Eagles last night 34-13. This has been the narrative before the season started. Naysayers stating that the Giants should have elected to take Sam Darnold or at least one of the other supposed up and coming promising QB’s in this years draft, rather than taking Saquon Barkley at the #2 spot. I am not a Giants fan, I am not a Eli fan, I am a Jets fan. I have hated on, bashed and doubted Eli over the years, as most Jets fans have. But I have come to respect Eli and the class act he is. I also believed he was getting some unfair criticism for last year when the team had injuries everywhere on the defense and also losing Shepard and Beckham for most of the year. Not to mention the offensive line play or running game to speak of.

I expected this year to be different with the return of Beckham and Shepard, Engram in his 2nd year and the addition of Saquon and the improvements on the offense line. Now, I still figured Eli would have his usual head scratcher games, but also believed he would have a solid season because of these weapons and the additions to the offensive line. Well sitting at 1-5 and Eli having just 6 TD’s in 5 games, it doesn’t appear that the Giants nor Eli are on their way to a successful season. Obviously losing Engram hurts, but he still has Sheppard, Saquon and Beckham, the biggest issue and something I didn’t expect is the offensive line. I figured they would be much improved and would give Eli time to throw, which is what he needs, what any QB needs, but more so a QB like Eli because he simply is not athletic or mobile. But that has always been the case for Eli.

After last’s night games the majority of the Media, fans and America have given up on Eli. Throw him to the wolves, burn him at the stake, drop him in a 300 gallon shark tank, throw him in a field of ostriches at midnight to improve his speed and reactions to defensive pressure. No doubt they should have taken a QB, they say. I still disagree with this. We have all seen Saquon Barkley, and he looks like the best RB in the league, if not at least top 5. Yes, Running backs don’t win you championships. So I guess that means you never draft any other position other than QB in the top 5? Football is a team sport, it isn’t changed by one position, even QB. Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are two of the best QB’s in the league each year, but yet their defenses aren’t and so they don’t get to the Superbowl and sometimes don’t even make the playoffs. Maybe an Elite running back would help Aaron Rodgers more, The Saints certainly got better with the addition of Kamara and should have probably been in the Superbowl if it wasn’t for a crazy TD pass to Stefon Diggs. Point is, you need a lot of parts to be a championship contender, yes QB is the most important, some other positions could be more valuable than RB. But this arguement has been repeated over and over again that at this point, I feel like the RB position is being undervalued. Taking Saquon was one of the surest picks you could make and we all see it. There was basically 0 risk in taking him. He was the surest pick in the draft, why not take him at 2? Why not add instant value and talent to your team. Instant payback, instant return on investment, sound business. None of these QB’s are a sure thing, they never are and they could hold back franchises for years and waste a ton of money. I have no problem with the Giants giving Eli one more year at it, they still have Lauletta and they can still acquire and/or draft a QB next year. You don’t need to acquire your QB in the top 10 or even in the 1st round. But even if you do take one in the top 10, that still doesn’t guarantee you finding a solution at QB. How many years did it take the Chiefs to draft a good QB? Finally after almost two decades they have what appears to be a game changer at the QB position. It is not easy to find a franchise QB. Yes Watson, Wentz, Mahomes, Goff have panned out, but how many haven’t? Jake Locker, EJ Manuel, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, Sam Bradford, Brandon Weeden, Paxton Lynch, Robert Griffin, Johnny Manziel are the worst ones. I’ll throw in Jameis, Tannehill, Mariota, also. Are these QB’s changing the face of the franchise? No, these teams continue to lose, and some of these teams continue to ride with these same QB’s year after year failing to achieve anything of note. Maybe it was time to move on from Eli, but at the same time, Saquon was staring at them right in the face like 100 ounces of Gold on a park bench. It was a sure thing. Saquon doesn’t likely make a huge difference to the Giants this year or maybe never, Barry Sanders won one playoff game. But maybe the Giants do find a legit QB in the coming years and couple that with Saquon and Barkley. Extreme talent at each skill position. It’s not just about this year with Saquon, he will be a huge piece for them for a long time. In the same way it was about Saquon this year, because again, he was the surest thing in the draft. The Giants passing on a QB was not 100% the wrong thing, like many are preaching over and over again. They made a fine decision, it wasn’t like they traded their first rounder for a tight end named Doug Jolly and then preceded to take a kicker in the 2nd round. (Jetssssssss) Now that is something to repeat over and over and blast for days, years, decades, centuries about. Not for taking Saquon Barkley who is probably the best RB prospect since AP.

Now back to Eli.

Despite what everybody and their mother is screaming and yelling about, Eli is actually not playing as bad as they are saying. Yes he is checking down too often and he has missed a few throws here and there. I have no reason to be bias towards Eli, again I am not a Giants fan or a Eli fan, although I do respect the guy as a person and a player. Eli has never been a truly elite QB. He has been a guy who has made big plays in big moments, has had fairly good weapons around him in his career and won two Super Bowls mainly because his defenses were some of the best in the league. He has been turnover prone throughout his career, but historically has been a QB to take chances. He has for the most part been the same guy throughout this whole career. He has been one of the better QB’s in the league, albeit never truly one of the best.

I have watched almost every snap from Eli’s 2018 season so far. Watching the All-22. I see some issues, but nothing insanely bad. First, the offensive line has been brutal for the most part, giving Eli little time, giving the offensive plays little time to develop, resulting in Eli having to check down often or just hit a throw in the flat or a quick curl and take what the defense is giving underneath. 2nd, I haven’t seen too many awful throws from Eli, yes he has missed some, but they aren’t Blake Bortles like or Mitch Trubisky, missing by yards with good protection. Take last night’s game for example. I saw Eli miss just a few throws. One deep to Jawill Davis where he threw the ball high. Another to Wayne Gallman on a flat route where he missed him completely. Possibly one to Beckham on a drag route where he should have thrown it a bit earlier, but had to escape pressure and then threw it at Odell’s feet. Still, the protection was not good on that play. The misfires are not happening often, what is happening most often are the check downs. Like I mentioned earlier, a lot of them are result of the offensive line not blocking forcing, Eli to check down, however he is also checking down a bit too early sometimes also. Last night, he should have taken a few shots deep to Beckham and Shepard, most notably when Beckham ran a Corner route, instead Eli checked down. On the misfire to Gallman, he had Shepard on the other side wide open but he didn’t look that way. I mean, these aren’t totally major, but maybe a shot or two more deep changes the game a bit, but again, nothing totally horrific or terrible. Ok, what about the interception on the 2nd pass of the game? Not a perfect throw, but it probably doesn’t get picked off if Sinamonson, doesn’t lean-to his left and pull his body back. Not sure what he was doing there. He needs to attack the ball on that play, Eli’s biggest mistake was throwing to the 3rd string TE on the 2nd play of the game. On the other hand, Eli made a great throw to Cody Latimer in the face of pressure and then took another deep shot to Latimer on the next play to have Latimer stop his route for some reason. He also made a fairly good throw to Beckham on the left sideline, but he was covered well. The throw to Beckham in the endzone may have resulted in a TD if the corner didn’t pull the inside of Beckham’s shoulder pad, definitely was a PI. Also the throw to Shepard looked solid, but Shepard tripped on the corners feet and fell. So Eli did take some shots here and there, but he needs to take a few more a game. He can still make these throws, he’s getting the ball in the right spots, and yes he has missed and will miss from time to time, but honestly his deep ball looks fine to me and his short to intermediate throws look fine as well. Eli’s biggest issue is playing behind this line that is giving him little time to operate and for the plays to develop. Eli’s biggest weakness is he isn’t the best at escaping pressure because of his lack of athleticism and speed.  And yes the constant  pressure has made Eli skiddish at times. I mean your 37 years old and being slammed to the ground by Michael Bennett lol. He must have felt great after that, but Eli is still a tough mofo who rarely is hurt. Another reason to respect him. Lastly, the offensive play calling and design do not look like anything special to me. Need more trip formations, more Beckham in the slot, more slants double moves from beckham also. Just overall the offensive doesn’t look all that creative.

If the Giants would have beaten Carolina in Week four, people would have been praising Eli for his great throws to Beckham and Shepard at the end of that game, instead they lost on the 2nd longest fg in NFL history with Graham Gano hitting a  63 yard FG to win the game. Eli’s heroic efforts were forgotten and they ran into the NFL Champs on Thursday night who are starting to find their groove again.

Has Eli been good? Of course not, has been bad or horrible? Not really. Really don’t think some of the best QB’s in the league would make a huge difference in this offense, definitely not any of the Rookies. Probably the mobile QB’s would serve best, Mahomes, Cam, Russ, but guys like Brees, Brady, Ben, guys who aren’t the most mobile would be suffering in this offense also, because of this offensive line. They simply aren’t providing enough consistent breathing room for this offense to be consistent. Eli hasn’t been good, but he’s not the disaster people are making him out to be. The defense is also not playing well and has been getting roasted for the most part with little to no pass rush. So one side of the ball can’t block and the other can’t get to the QB, that’s a losing formula for any team. Maybe the Oline gets a bit better, maybe the return of Vernon helps the Giants pass rush, the schedule also eases up a bit. Maybe they change some of the offensive schemes.

The Giants so far have faced four playoff teams from last year in Jacksonville, New Orleans, Philly and Carolina. They went against a much improved Dallas D and were a 63 yard fg make from beating the Panthers. They beat Houston, which was a good win and Eli made plays in that game. They are currently 1-5, but still only two games out of 1st place, the season is not completely lost and they aren’t going to give up, contrary to popular belief. They play at Atlanta next week who has one of the worst defenses in the league. Then they play home vs Washington, have a bye and finish the season @ 49ers, home vs TB, @ PHI, vs CHI, @ WAS, vs TEN, @ IND and vs DAL. Outside of Philly in Philly and the Bears (whose offense can lose them games) the rest of the schedule isn’t scary at all. Eli and the Giants historically have been at their best when they are doubted and shamed. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but honestly I wouldn’t be completely surprised if the Giants made a bit of a run and made a ploy for the last wildcard spot. You think I am crazy? Go watch the tape of every Eli throw and let me know the huge issues or multiple horrific throws he has made. Again, I have seen some bad throws, too many checkdowns, but nothing major or nothing to indicate that he is done, in fact some of the throws he has made indicates to me that he is not done. Again, watch the tape and let’s go over it. I will gladly look at every play you point out and your argument. But as a whole, I just don’t see a huge issue with Eli, he can still make all the throws he’s accustomed to making and be a competent QB for this offense. Now, if this offensive line doesn’t start to improve at least a little bit, then the Giants are likely doomed, but as I pointed out earlier, if you can’t protect your QB, unless you have a young athletic QB like Mahomes or Russ or Cam, you most likely aren’t going to be able to ever get into a flow on offense. Even with those guys it’s tough. I don’t completely blame Eli, I don’t think he’s completely done, I’ve watched the tape, I disagree with the masses, that’s my analysis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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