With a draft that doesn’t feature many good quarterbacks, they’ll have to look deep and work on developing the next quarterback. That’s a luxury they have because, while they can see the finish line for Manning, he isn’t there yet. He completed 377 of 598 passes (63 percent) for 4,027 yards and 26 touchdowns, with 16 interceptions. His passer rating, though, was just 86.0.
“Thirty-six, I don’t think that’s ancient for a quarterback,” Reese added. “I think he’s probably on the back nine, but I don’t think that’s ancient for a quarterback.”
It isn’t if the quarterback’s name happens to be Tom Brady. He’s having one of his best seasons, despite sitting out the first four games of the year, so maybe Manning should try switching to avocado ice cream and avoiding “nightshades.” Under Manning, the Giants offense failed to score 30 points or more in any game in 2016 after doing so seven times in 2015. In the last five regular season games and the playoff game, the offense failed to score more than 20 points.
Part of the reason for Manning’s struggles lay with a ground game that ranked 29th in the regular season. Still, Reese called the team’s offensive problems a “mystery.” The New York Daily News flat-out states that the problem is that Manning already is on the decline, although the team is reluctant to say that about a two-time Super Bowl winner.
“I wouldn’t say it was a down year [for him], I just think, offensively, as a whole, it just didn’t function as a unit like we thought it would,” Reese said.
The answer isn’t the other quarterbacks on the roster — Ryan Nassib or Josh Johnson — either, so the team will proceed with Manning showing glimpses of his former form.
“I thought he finished the season strong,” Reese said, pointing out that Manning passed for 299 yards in Sunday’s loss. “He was in a really good rhythm last night when we were protecting, ran the ball a little bit, he was hitting guys and we just had some untimely drops right there that hurt us.”
While it’s obvious that looking for the next Eli Manning is a wise move for the Giants, the thought of an NFL without a Manning somewhere at quarterback is a sobering one.