Wow, what a rollercoaster week for New York Giants’ faithful!
The Freak and many others from Giants Nation were shocked and appalled with last week’s benching of quarterback Eli Manning by former head coach Ben McAdoo. Manning, the face of the franchise for not only what he has accomplished on the field but off the field, had not missed a game since his rookie season in 2004. He took the news very hard, but in his always-classy way said, “I’m crushed, but not bitter by this decision.”
McAdoo tried to save his job with this move, and apparently had support from now former GM Jerry Reese and owner John Mara. Problem was McAdoo, with his lack of communication skills, devised and delivered a plan – Eli would only play the first half of the game to keep the consecutive game streak alive – to see the potential talent of back-up Geno Smith and rookie Davis Webb.
First of all, we all know what Smith brings to the table, but third-round pick Webb has only seen scout team reps in practice, and is not ready for regular-season games. What was the urgency to bench Eli?
The Giants are ravaged by injuries to the offensive line, with only two starters remaining. There isn’t a wide receiver on the roster who can get open. Do you think a quarterback with no NFL reps, or a back-up quarterback, can do better?
Fans understand the organization wants to see what Webb is capable of before they draft a quarterback, which should be a top-five pick. But aren’t they setting Webb up for failure behind this O-line, and throwing to those receivers?
Really don’t think you can make a quality evaluation of his talent based on
the Giants’ offensive players. The Freak saw the Giants’ receivers up close and personal two weeks ago, and they can’t get separation.
In the end, Eli might get his job back after McAdoo and Reese rightfully got fired Monday, but it really didn’t need to become this soap opera if the succession plan was communicated properly to Eli and the New York media.
McAdoo threw only one player under the bus for all the Giants’ failures this season, and it was the wrong player. It was disrespectful!
How about controlling Odell Beckum Jr. on the sidelines, and teaching him to respect the game? How about not letting your receivers to go to Miami Beach days before a playoff game?
Imagine the greatness OBJ can reach, with his extreme talent, watching how Eli conducts himself every day, and having a coach who can put together an NFL offensive game plan!
The Freak and family experienced all the highs and lows of Manning’s 14-year career with the Giants, and are saddened it’s come to this. While he brought two championships to New York, which was very special, this is only part of his legacy.
Today’s NFL players can learn a thing or two from Manning’s character and what he represents – class, consistency, leadership, loyalty, dignity and excellence on and off the field.
When the Giants won a game, Eli never took the credit, but praised his teammates for their great performance. When the Giants lost games, who took the blame and said he needed to play better?
And how about the outcry from former and current NFL players like Philip Rivers, Tom Brady and many others?
It shows the respect many outside of New York had for Manning.
Whatever happens the rest of the season and in the off season, The Freak’s family has a few parting words: “Congrats on your great career, and what you represent. We love you Eli!”
Finally, Eli’s father, Archie Manning, who originally negotiated for Eli to play for the Giants, summed it up best: “This is tough on ownership, this is tough on management, this is tough on coaches, it’s tough on players, it’s tough on fans, it’s tough on media. It’s not the fun side of football. It’s just awful.
“The sun will come up, and we’ll all get through it. It’s not cancer. It’s not death. It’s not war. You handle it and you move on.”
John Turner is a teacher at Summerside Intermediate School, and coaches youth football. His column appears every Thursday during the NFL season. Feel free to e-mail questions and comments to email@example.com.
Stat of the Week
Eli Manning played 210 straight games until he was benched Sunday.
In this time span, 188 different quarterbacks have started NFL games, and every team has started at least three different quarterbacks.
The Freak’s picks for
this week’s NFL games:
Patriots win in Miami.
Visiting Packers beat Cleveland in a close one.
The Chargers are on fire with Philip Rivers. Take the Bolts over Washington.
Don’t Mortgage The House
Cam Newton is overrated, and Carolina hosts a fierce Vikings’ D, Minnesota wins.
KC hosts the Raiders in a huge AFC West game. The Chiefs find a way to win.
Two of the hottest teams in the league are the Ravens and Steelers. The Steelers win a low-scoring physical game.
Seattle is a road dog in Jacksonville. The Jags will need to use all its defensive resources to corral Russell Wilson, and the Seahawks’ D will make Blake Bortles look like Blake Bortles. ‘Hawks upset the Jags.
Last week: 5-for-7.