Where does this New York Giants offense rank for Eli Manning?
By Henry Buggy
New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman took a risk selecting Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The risk has nothing to do with Barkley. The 6-foot, 233-pound running back was the considered the top talent in this year’s draft class.
The risk the New York Giants took was betting on their 37-year-old quarterback, Eli Manning. The two-time Super Bowl MVP is coming off a subpar season, throwing 19 touchdowns to 13 interceptions.
To be fair, Manning was playing on an offense that was falling apart in 2017.
The G-Men were decimated by injuries. Big Blue’s offensive line struggled to run-block and in pass protection. New York’s ground game was non-existent. And Manning’s receivers led the league in dropped passes.
In reality, the Giants have failed Manning for some time now. They wasted at least the past five years of his career, building an offense that doesn’t fit his strengths.
Sure having Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Brandon Marshall looks good on paper. But without an offensive line or ground game, it was unlikely to result in wins.
In fact, the Giants only winning season over the past five years came in 2016. That was when their defense finished in the top 10 in terms of points and yards allowed.
New York Giants
Over the past five seasons, the Giants have only posted a top 10 offense in terms of yards and points once. It came in 2015 when Big Blue’s offense was consistently playing catch-up due to their 32nd ranked defense.
Gettleman and Pat Shurmur both clearly believe No. 10 still has some gas left in the tank. They are building an offense around his strengths.
Best Offense of Manning’s Career?
New York’s 2018 roster is clearly the most well-rounded offense the franchise has had in years.
The additions of Saquon Barkley, Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, and Patrick Omameh greatly alleviates some of the team’s biggest weaknesses. They still have plenty of weapons with Beckham, Shepard, and Engram returning.
But is this the best offense of Manning’s 15-year career?
The G-Men have had some dominant offenses during Manning’s tenure. They have posted a top 10 offense in terms of yards and points six times, including 2015.
Big Blue’s 2008 offense is arguably the best of Manning’s career. The 12-4 campaign still stands as Manning’s best regular season record. It was not Manning’s best statistical season, but it’s arguably the most complete offense he’s played on.
If not for Plaxico Burress accidentally shooting himself, the Giants could’ve had a legitimate chance of making back-to-back Super Bowls. The incident is considered one of worst injuries in team history.
New York’s 2018 offense has a chance to surpass the 2008 offense, but the offensive line still remains a significant question. The Giants starting offensive line in 2008 included David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O’Hara, Chris Snee, and Kareem McKenzie, according to Pro Football Reference.
It’s not like the unit was missing weapons. Burress, Amani Toomer, Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, Kevin Boss, and Steve Smith were all a part of New York’s 2008 offense.
The Giants’ 2011 Super Bowl winning offense also deserves consideration. The offensive line may not have been as complete as 2008, but Manning was playing at an elite level alongside Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham.
According to Pro Football Focus, it was the best year of Manning’s NFL career.
At this point, it’s a stretch to proclaim this the best offense of Manning’s career. The right side of the offensive line still has question marks. The G-Men are also counting on two rookies, Barkley and Hernandez, to make an immediate impact.
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This offense undoubtedly has the potential to be something special. But it’s up to the coaching staff and the players to make it a reality.