There will be plenty of takes about the state of the New York Giants after their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Most are ready to give up on the team’s chances of being decent this year. There’s already talks of the NFL Draft, and of getting Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. Some are already mocking Herbert to the Giants at number one overall, and that’s not entirely unreasonable.
3-13 was the lowest point for the franchise, but it seems like the team could realistically be right back at that mark this season at their current pace. Even in games like this, where some players like Saquon Barkley have big performances, it’s just not enough to pull out wins. Even against a struggling team like Philadelphia, which despite being the defending champion, entered with a losing record and lacked their top running back due to injury.
It’s easy at this point to look back and say that the Giants should have drafted a quarterback. The fact of the matter is, Sam Darnold or anyone else wouldn’t be able to fix this. Having a mobile quarterback wouldn’t fix this, either. Eli Manning might not be one of the top quarterbacks in the league, or even an above average quarterback these days, but blaming him for the team’s struggles is only looking at things from a surface level.
Manning threw for 281 yards during this game, despite not getting a touchdown. That’s more than Carson Wentz threw for, but Wentz had more support from the rest of his offense and looked better in this game because he was able to throw three touchdowns. Manning wasn’t the only one that had a bad game for New York, and if the Giants had Sam Darnold under center rather than Manning, it would be unreasonable to expect a different result.
It wouldn’t be the first time that a rookie quarterback has come into a bad situation and had their confidence destroyed early on, after being thrust into a starting job that they aren’t ready for, with an offense that doesn’t have the talent to provide the proper support.
In fact, Darnold has only thrown for more than 200 yards one time this season. And his numbers would certainly be worse behind the Giants offensive line, which has proved to be one of the worst in the league despite the departure of Ereck Flowers. It’s time to be glad that the Giants drafted Saquon Barkley, because in spite of that offensive line, Barkley is one of the players that’s performing every week.
He’s been one of the most consistent players on offense for the Giants, and his performances should continue to improve as he gains experience and as the rest of the offense improves around him during this offseason. If the Giants were playing with a rookie quarterback, rather than Barkley? They might not even have a win at this point, if that was the case.
Rather, they’ve secured a key piece for the rebuild with Barkley, and when the team actually does draft or acquire a quarterback, that player will already have a top running back to take some of the pressure away. It’s easy to focus on this season and forget what things were like only a year ago, but there was significantly more pressure on the passing game when Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen were the top rushers of the team.
The Giants do need a new quarterback, either sooner or later. But this bad start isn’t one that could have been fixed by taking Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen. If you want someone to blame, look at the offensive line or the defense that allowed more than 30 points for the second straight game. Because really, the Giants would be in a decent place right now if their worst problem was Eli Manning.