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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

State of the Union: New York Giants

Last Thursday night the New York Giants faced off against the Philadelphia Eagles in a critical NFC East division showdown. But the Giants barely stood a chance, with the Eagles getting out to a quick 14-3 lead in the first quarter. Despite Saquon Barkley balling out and the G-Men having one of the most talented receiving toddlers in the league, the Giants offense continually missed opportunities thanks to a poor performance from the offensive line and brutal quarterback play.

The daunting combination of Ereck Flowers, who was recently released and signed by the Jags, the rest of the offensive line, and Eli Manning has been nothing short of spectacular for opposing defenses thus far. With the Giants now sitting pretty at 1-5 they find themselves once again in #tankseason.

Odell Beckham Jr and the boat crew were up to their usual antics of attacking inanimate object on the sidelines. Although I may not agree with Odell’s or other frustrated players actions, I can’t fully blame him. He got a huge contract this year and he hasn’t had the chance to prove he’s worth it because Eli can’t throw him a ball downfield.

As the relation of the words Eli Manning and “elite” have drifted further and further apart (as if he ever actually was elite) so has the Giants organization with what has been their franchise QB for years. Coming into the season many believed in Eli being able to pick it back up, but after six games, it’s clear he’s headed downhill permanently. Eli had a whopping 7.8 passer rating in the first quarter, going 0-7 with an interception. The rest of the night didn’t get much better for Eli, who finished with 281 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception on a 55.8 % completion percentage. He looked about as mobile as a landline out there and had about as much spatial awareness as a deer in headlights. It hurts to say as an Eli guy, but it was clear: Eli Manning has lost it. Maybe he should just return to his government days.

As much as Eli is to blame for the Giants poor results this season, you cannot overlook how terrible the offensive line has been. Eli may be throwing ducks but every time he steps back to pass he only has a few seconds before getting hit. The league can thank former GM Jerry Reese for the current state of the Giants O-Line. For years Reese has neglected to draft offensive linemen, and the one time he invested big in the draft he drafted Ereck Flowers 10th overall.

The defense is the unit on the Giants fans should be least worried about going forward. Sure, they had a bad game this week and haven’t been great this year, but when they have to carry the entire load with no offensive help they shouldn’t be blamed. Landon Collins is still extremely young and has the potential to be one of the greatest safeties of all time. The defense still has a tremendous amount of talent and experience with pass-rushers Snack Harrison and Olivier Vernon. If the Giants can improve through the draft, they have a shot to be at an elite level again next season.

The only positive from last night’s game was Saquon Barkley’s performance. Barkley was electric, tacking on 229 all-purpose yards, with 130 yards rushing and a touchdown, and 99 yards through the air. As Eli has been in decline and rookie QB Sam Darnold has shown success for the Jets this year, many have said that the team made a mistake drafting Saquon at #2 overall. Sure, it would have been nice to have a future franchise quarterback on the roster right now, but there should be no regrets about the Giants taking Barkley. The dude is putting up huge numbers and having an immediate impact for the Giants even with a mediocre offensive line. If you give Saquon an elite offensive line, and someone that can throw to OBJ, the offensive will be great .

With the season basically lost despite the dumpster fire status of the NFC East, it’s time to look ahead to the top QB prospects in the 2019 NFL draft. The top two prospects right now are Justin Herbert, a junior from Oregon, and Drew Lock, senior out of Missouri. Oregon QB Justin Herbert had himself a big week as he led the Ducks to a huge overtime win against undefeated Stanford. Drew Lock, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well recently as he struggled against a stout Alabama defense It’s time to trust the process Giants fans.

-Jackson, Greg

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