The 2019 season hasn’t gone according to plan for Eli Manning. While the veteran quarterback started the season under center for the New York Giants, he quickly lost the job to Daniel Jones. Although the team has struggled, the season isn’t over for Manning. With Jones suffering from a sprained ankle, Eli is getting at least one more start for the Giants.
His return to action will come on Monday Night Football against the Eagles. Manning might have been on the sidelines for quite a few weeks, but Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson is still expecting a strong showing from Manning.
Eli Manning’s painful decline
Peyton might get the most hype in the Manning family, but Eli has had quite the career of his own. This season, however, the Giants have phased their veteran quarterback out of the picture.
Manning started the season under center but didn’t cover himself in glory in either of his two starts. The quarterback threw for 306 yards and one touchdown during a Week 1 loss to the Dallas Cowboys; the next week, he 250 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions against the upstart Buffalo Bills. He didn’t get a third start, however, as head coach Pat Shurmur handed Daniel Jones the reigns.
While the move made sense from an organizational perspective—there’s no use trotting an aging Manning out behind a shoddy offensive line, so Jones might as well start cutting his NFL teeth—it was still painful. During his time in New York, Eli led the Giants to two Super Bowl titles. At best, he’s a hall of fame quarterback; at the worst, he’s a very good player who thrived on the game’s biggest stage.
What Doug Pederson expects from Eli
Eli Manning will return to action on Monday Night Football against the Philadelphia Eagles. While it would be easy assuming that an aging quarterback would struggle coming off the bench, Doug Pederson knows better than to count Manning out. If anything, his experience should help him return to action without missing a beat.
“No, I don’t anticipate [the Giants’ playing like they did during Manning’s prime] at all,” Pederson told reporters. “I think that, obviously, having Eli have a chance to kind of watch from the sideline, to kind of observe and see how things have gone on the last few weeks, I think that’s just going to help — not only help him, but it’s going to help sort of jazz up the football team and kind of motivate the football team.”
“One of the things, one of Eli’s strengths obviously, is how he distributes the football to multiple people and that’s something that he’s been able to do throughout his career and be successful,” he continued. “I don’t think it goes back to the old way at all. I think it’s something that Eli has probably sat and watched and observed and he’s going to use that to his advantage.’’
How will Eli Manning fare tonight?
While Eli Manning has posted an impressive career and probably has a perfect gameplan, Monday night won’t be a walk in the park.
While the Eagles, by all accounts, are an average team, they can still cause the Giants problems. Philadelphia actually has a strong run defense, which should limit Saquon Barkley’s effectiveness and force Manning to throw the ball to an ineffective receiving corps. Given his rust and the Giants’ weak offensive line, expect Eli to throw plenty of check-downs and quick-hitters; he won’t be phased by the moment, but he isn’t stepping into the best situation.
When push comes to shove, the Giants’ last four games don’t really matter; his teammates might want to “win one for the Gipper,” but no amount of motivation is going to turn this team into world-beaters. For what it’s worth, the Eagles will also have some added motivation, as they’re fighting for their playoff lives.
At this point, let’s just hope that Eli Manning gets to say goodbye in style and doesn’t spend the remainder of the season running for his life.