As it was last season, Giants QB Eli Manning will enter his final regular-season game on Sunday with the question of whether or not he will start for Big Blue next season up in the air.
Manning has support from his teammates like WR Sterling Shepard, who said “I’d love to” have the 37-year-old throwing passes to him next season. And after practice Friday, Manning has another supporter: Odell Beckham Jr.
“I love Eli,” Beckham told reporters when asked if he wanted him as his quarterback in 2019. “I’ve been with Eli – he’s the first quarterback I’ve ever had in the league. I threw at him, Manning Camp, high school. There’s a lot of things you want in life. You can’t always get what you want, but at the end of the day I want him to be able to go home and talk trash to his brothers. When it’s his time to go out, I want him to go out the right way.”
By talking trash, Beckham means getting Manning that third Super Bowl ring to top his brother, Peyton, who collected two in his 15-year career.
“I want him to go out with a trophy so he can go home and, not rub it in their face, but he’s got three rings, they got two, or whatever it is.,” Beckham said. “That’s what I want for him. That’s how I want him to finish. It has nothing to do with me. It’s not my call. I’m just a receiver. That’s above my paygrade.”
Now, Beckham didn’t directly say yes or no to the question like Shepard did, but this is the first time we are hearing any support of Manning coming from the star receiver publicly this season. In the beginning of the year when things weren’t rolling the Giants’ way and Manning’s play came into question, Beckham responded with, “I don’t know” when asked by ESPN’s Josina Anderson if the veteran signal-caller was the problem.
Maybe it was the better second half Manning and the offense put together that boosted Beckham’s confidence in his quarterback leading the Giants to the Super Bowl ring he yearns for. But, of course, there are still areas of the team that need fixing before that happen.
“We just got to put the pieces together,” Beckham said. “We were so close this year in so many different ways, in so many different games. Just finding ways to put it all together and it’s been that way for a little minute. It’s just about finding those ways to put it all together, score more points, give up fewer points, make plays on special teams, all the little things.”
Beckham won’t be on the field with Manning Sunday as they face the NFC East-winning Cowboys to cap the season, but he is already thinking ahead to next year where he knows he is going to be even more of a problem for defenses than he already is.
“My goal is to bring my A+ game next year,” he explained. “I don’t care who is in front of me next year and that’s just how I’m coming. That’s just the bottom line.
“I think next year will be the best year I’ve had in my entire career.”
Looks like Beckham trusts in Manning to reach that goal, too.