Any normal human being would be nervous if their employer brought in a younger version of the employee in question to eventually take their job. This is currently the case with New York Giants veteran passer Eli Manning. Drafting Daniel Jones might not have rattled Eli visually, but behind closed doors, he is certainly nervous.
Receiver Sterling Shepard gave away Manning’s hand on Tuesday afternoon after the first session of minicamp concluded. The two teammates had worked together this offseason as usual, but this time Eli has amped up his workouts and conditioning program.
The New York Giants seem to have gotten the message across to Manning:
In other words, Manning seems to be practicing like his job is on the line, and to be quite frank, it is. This could be the two-time Super Bowl-winning passer’s last season if he fails to operate at a high level behind a revamped offensive line. There are no more excuses on the table for Eli, as providing him with more time is the supposed missing ingredient to his success.
My question is – is it too late for Eli?
Suffering from inadequate offensive line play for years created a type of muscle memory for Eli, one that forces him to worry at the sight of pressure and drop his eyes and lose track of his progressions. This is a very real mental part of any quarterback’s game that heavily impacts their efficiency.
For Manning, it’s detrimental he overcomes this obstacle. General manager Dave Gettleman has done everything in his power to provide him with protection and talent – Saqoun Barkley is generally all he needs to succeed.
However, the current team seems to have shifted their focus from Odell Beckham Jr. to team chemistry and camaraderie. This is a positive sign for the organization as a whole and Manning, who will benefit from less distraction and more positivity.
Between Barkley, Shepard, Golden Tate, and Evan Engram, the Giants have plenty of weaponry to assist in Manning’s success in 2019, and he must take advantage of it or he will go missing faster than Tom Hanks in “Castaway.”