(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
According to Direct TV, there are two Eli Mannings and no matter what it says on the commercial, it really just goes like this:
There’s Elite Eli Manning, who wins Super Bowls.
And then there’s Interception Prone Eli Manning.
Don’t be like that Eli.
Tonight, we saw the latter in Snoopy Bowl against the Jets with Interception Prone Eli Manning tossing a pick-6 to Antonio Cromartie late in the second quarter.
“It looked like (Eli) shuffled up in the pocket,” said head coach Tom Coughlin. “And because of that, the play might have taken a little longer, but James [Jones] certainly could have come back more and even if he knocks the ball down, you know it’s better than the result.”
Look, with a defense that looks somewhat weak up front with a secondary dropping like flies, the Giants will need Manning to be Elite Eli this season if they have any chance of going back to the playoffs.
With Odell Beckham, Jr. and Victor Cruz as the main wideouts and a running game featuring Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen, the Giants will score points, if Manning is judicious with the ball and doesn’t try to do too much.
Last season, it took him time to get used to Bob McAdoo’s new system and when he got it, he looked great out there. However too many times, Eli forced the issue and the result was the ball ending up in the opposition’s hands.
However, before the interception, you did see Eli in action with the 85-yard drive.
“We just made some plays,” Manning said. “Thought we got it in third and manageable situations. Had a couple of nice third-down conversions, some short passes that went a long way. When it came on a little live route, worked some tackles, had a good run with Rashad. Had completions and so that’s just the way it’s supposed to be done. I thought we were close on a couple other series.
“Obviously we had some sacks, had some penalties that hurt us. We overcame some of them but it’s just in that world. I thought we were close to hitting Odell down on that right sideline there before half. Just missed him on that one. We’ve just got to find ways to hit those big plays. Instead of being close, we’ve got to connect on them.”
It’s only preseason, but it’s still just two short weeks to opening day in Dallas. The Giants offense needs some work here. Even with the Snoopy Trophy going to Florham Park, the players know there’s still some time to right the ship.
“We just have to work through it,” Beckham said. “It’s not going to be clicking from the get-go, and like I said, we were [5-0] in the preseason last year and we didn’t have the best of seasons, so I don’t think wins and losses right now are really as important as what we need to be doing.”
But it all comes down to Eli. The offense will live and die with him. More than any other player of the team, the Giants need Manning to be elite again. It’s going to be the only way they will have a chance for the playoffs.
Don’t be Interception Prone Eli Manning.