Lamenting The Giants' Loss
As a giant New York football Giants' fan, I should like to share my condolences with my fellow mourners. How rabid a fan am I? When Giants' home games were blacked out in the City in the 60s, I used to drive a hundred miles to Monticello, New York and watch the game at Kaplan's Deli. My fervor has not diminished. Down to business:
I have never been a fan of Eli Manning. The four year mantra was we were waiting for him to mature. Give him time. Last year, all the stars must have been aligned as everything fell into place after the head coach's decision to play New England at full tilt. And, the Giants, against all odds, came away as Super Bowl Champs. All well and good, however, Manning has so many flaws as a major league quarterback that five years of fine tuning haven't repaired, that he cannot be considered in the same "league" as his draftmates, Rivers and Rothlesberger (either of whom could have been Giants). Here are my beefs:
1. The era of the pocket quarterback is dead. Offensive linemen cannot be expected to protect a wooden statue the entire game, especially against three hundred pound plus agile defensive linemen and shooting linebackers. The quarterback has to help them out with pump fakes, rollouts and deceptive hand-offs. Manning does none of these.
2. Manning's passes too often waffle. Why? Peruse the league and you will find spirals abound in a league of professionals. I don't get it.
3. Manning's footwork is clumsy. He might benefit from taking ballet lessons in the off-season, the one he lengthened.
4. Manning's hand-offs are telegraphed from the get-go. How about concealing the ball behind his thigh until he actually hands the ball off or pretending to hand off, bringing it back and letting one go? He's no actor!
5. Manning could pump fake to freeze the offensive secondary and the offensive line. The second he would gain could be the difference between an open receiver and having to eat the ball.
6. I might be missing something but don't Manning's interceptions appear to be thrown directly to the opposition? In football speak, he doesn't know when to throw the ball away.
7. Manning's audibles often prove to me he is not expert enough in reading defenses. In fact, he seems frightened. Case in point, the number of times he has let the play clock run down and incurred a penalty for delay of game after a time out is staggering and unforgivable.
8. In baseball, fans often speak of a five tool player. If such a reference is attributable to football, Manning can hardly be considered in this class.
It is amazing that Manning won Athlete of the Year when the title should have gone to Michael Phelps. The press has given Manning a free pass since he was drafted. Perhaps Manning believes his own press.
In preparing for next season, the Giants must consider drafting a kickoff specialist out of college who can boot the ball through the uprights every time. We know they exist. We see them on TV weekly in college contests. On defense, the Giants have to draft or trade for a swift, fierce, aggressive, sure-tackling linebacker. On offense, the team needs to find a Buress clone as Buress may be spending, rather serving time away from football. Once Jacobs is secured, the Giants have to find a way to keep Ward or find his clone (too bad for us when and if Lightning leaves). Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could draft a run-back specialist like Washington of the Jets? You have to love the excitement every time he gets his hands on the ball. We need speedy, aggressive special teams tacklers to prevent punt returns of mammoth proportions. Certainly, Jerry Reese can find hungry college tough guys for the job.
Nine months is a long time to be in mourning, especially with the mediocre showing of the Knicks, Rangers, Islanders and Devils. For Rockawayites, summer can't come fast enough. True Giants fans pray for September.