By Michael Stewart
Introduction: Could we see the rebirth of Eli Manning in 2018? Last season, Manning threw for 3,468 yards with only 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Let’s not forget that Manning led all quarterbacks in 2017 with the most dropped passes. Also throw into the mix that Manning had arguably the worse offensive line to work with in the NFL and a running game that was non-existing. Fast forward to 2018 and with new additions on offense that features offensive linemen Nate Solder, Patrick Omameh and rookie Will Hernandez; which give the offensive line a boost and not to mention rookie running back Saquon Barkley who is arguably the best running back out of college football in the past 20 years.
Another welcome sight will be a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. along with tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Sterling Shepard looking to improve from their performances last season and it’s not a stretch to believe that Manning could come close to his numbers from 2015 where he threw for 4,432 yards with 35 touchdowns and only 14 interceptions with the weapons on offense. Now what could offset that would be the addition of Barkley who will certainly be given a high percentage of touches. Regardless; all of these improvements will give Manning options and big play opportunities in every game.
Final Thoughts: Let’s not forget Head Coach Pat Shurmur’s history on turning quarterbacks careers around (Case Keenum) and what impact he can do for Manning at this point of his career. Another major factor will be Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula and what part he will play in letting Manning open things up on offense. So let’s not count out Manning just yet as the new look Giants should improve dramatically in 2018. The decision to not draft a quarterback in the 1st round was the right choice with Barkley on the board as the Giants running game needed to be re-established. GM Dave Gettleman understands talent and is a great evaluator and has full confidence in Eli Manning’s abilities and not to mention his leadership.