Jump to content

It's time Eli takes charge


Recommended Posts



It's time Eli takes charge

Thursday, July 13, 2006






Everyone keeps tracing their fingers down the Giants' depth chart, surveying the big names, the growing reputations, suggesting this can be a Super Bowl contender. All along the way, there is this belief -- this hope, anyway -- that Eli Manning will grow into the job. Everyone is waiting on him, tapping feet, checking watches, wondering when he's going to arrive on the job.


Giants training camp is coming fast, July 27, and the most important issue surrounding Manning's growth is still unresolved. He didn't get an off-season of working with his most important pass catchers, bonding on throws and timing and melding those disparate personalities.


It's hard to believe the Giants haven't fallen behind with Jeremy Shockey and Plaxico Burress hanging in Miami instead of East Rutherford this off-season, that Manning hasn't been cheated out of something he desperately needed to develop.


If you wanted to believe that Manning commanded the respect in the locker room to make Shockey and Burress spend this off-season working with him in Northern New Jersey, you're still disappointed. They blew off "voluntary workouts" at Giants Stadium, depriving Manning and the Giants of valuable time together.


After the way everything fell apart at the end of last season, the way Manning regressed, there should've been a monumental push on the Giants' offense to take the next step. It showed the potential to be spectacular a year ago -- showed flashes of it -- but the Giants stumbled to the finish line.


And now, this team returns to camp with this whole Shockey and Burress issue unresolved. They're still out there, distanced from this team, this quarterback, and it's a problem.


"I think it's unfortunate that here he is a quarterback going into his third season, and he's not given the opportunity to throw to his three wide receivers throughout the off-season," Hall of Fame inductee Troy Aikman told reporters the other day.


"I think that's a real mistake for Jeremy Shockey and Plaxico Burress ... not to be there with Eli Manning getting some timing down. I don't think you can get it in a minicamp. I don't think you get that in four weeks of training camp. I think it takes a lot of time and a lot of repetition. And they're not getting that kind of time.


"Maybe it lends itself to some of the inaccuracies that Eli had last year."


Whatever diplomacy Manning tried, it failed. They worked out in Miami, leaving Eli to consider an opening night national television Manning Bowl where the Giants quarterback won't be nearly as prepared for Peyton and the Colts as he could've been with a winter and spring of work with his receivers.


Listen, this is the NFL. Everyone is accountable for himself. The ultimate reflection is on Shockey and Burress. Of course, they were problems before the Giants brought them into town, and they've been problems here. Still, it reflects on several people the way that two of the Giants' most expensive assets, Shockey and Burress, still can't be persuaded to go the distance with this team.


Still, where's Tom Coughlin, tough coach, to get his receivers together with his quarterback?


Why can't captains Michael Strahan and Tiki Barber reach these two guys?


Mostly, though, you wished the quarterback has the influence in the locker room, the presence, to make them bend to his will. Nobody would pull this on his brother, Peyton. Or Aikman. Or any big-time quarterback who wanted to exert his will.


Sometimes, it seems like he sees himself as the little brother, unsure where to assert himself, unsure how. There are some strong, strong personalities in that huddle and Manning needs to start showing that he can measure up. This isn't an indictment of him. It's the reality of his work. It isn't enough for a quarterback to just read defenses and throw tight spirals. He has got to lead his offense, if not his football team. The kid needs to start doing it now.


It won't be easy. The Steelers let Burress walk and won a Super Bowl without him. He was a head case with them and stayed true to character with the Giants. He was benched to start the season in San Diego, and sulked his way to no catches and a missed exit meeting on the way out of the playoffs. Jerry Rice, the best ever, ripped Burress' professionalism in June on his national radio show, stunned over the way that Burress walked out on his teammates after that Carolina debacle.


Shockey has been his own kind of headache, and it hasn't been the best news for the Giants that he and Burress became running buddies down in South Florida this off-season. Yet, there were no mysteries when the Giants drafted and finally signed Shockey to a long-term contract. The Giants wanted a football player, so they take the baggage that comes with him.


Aikman is right. Manning is behind going into his third season, because Shockey and Burress wouldn't hang with him and run routes. In the end, the quarterback will take the heat for it. That's just how it goes. He needs to start telling those guys, telling everyone, this is his team, his time, and make someone in that locker room think twice about messing with it.


E-mail: wojnarowski@northjersey.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay... I am getting really tired of hearing people complain about these voluntary workouts. I couldn't finish reading the article because it's sickening. Maybe it's me, but I only needed to see the ball come out of someone's hand once to know how they threw and where I need to be when they threw, so all this talk about timing doesn't mean a damn thing to me. On top of that he's making it seem like Shockey and Burress skipped workouts to go and party. If anyone followed the situation last year, there was a bunch of crap about Shockey skipping the voluntary workouts and he responded with his best season of his pro career. I am a firm believer in needing to help oneself before you can help someone else. Shockey was underperforming when he was training with the team, and we know what happened when he trained in Miami. Now I don't know about Burress because I haven't followed his career, but I'm sure that Manning appreciated the 7-8 TDs that Burress caught last year as well. Also if my memory serves me correctly, Toomer didn't go to the workouts either, so what's the deal with all this ill will towards Burress and Shockey?


Other than that, from what I was able to read before I became sick to my stomach, this guy doesn't seem to understand that it takes time for a QB to develop and considering that Manning threw 24 TDs and had his team win the toughest division in football in his first full season tells me that he's progressing nicely. Granted his production sputtered at the end of the year, but the causes (mechanics and predictability of play-calling) of that can be corrected easily. Besides that there's enough time in training camp to work with his teammates.


Some people may not agree with my POV, but that's their opinion and they're entitled to it. I just don't believe that this "problem" with the receivers skipping workouts is as serious as it's being made to be. Also Eli Manning will be amazing in the future and will be great this coming year. That's my two cents.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...