Everyone who is anyone has chosen to weigh in on New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning recently, debating his future in the NFL, his future with the team and what his presence currently means for the franchise.
Retired NFL quarterback and one-time mentor to Manning, Kurt Warner, also chimed in earlier this week, but he took his opinion on the matter in an unexpected direction.
Rather than trashing Manning or calling his ability into question, Warner wondered aloud whether or not Eli may be better off going the route of his older brother, Peyton Manning, by finding a new team and situation that better fits his style of play and can maximize his final few years.
“I don’t think the question is whether Eli can still play,” Warner said via NJ Advance Media. “I think the bottom line is, can they still play the way that fits his skill-set. If they can, I believe he can play for a couple more years if he wants to. But, if they’re not going to play that way, and they can’t protect him the way that they did earlier in his career, maybe it’s time to go somewhere like his brother did, and find a better fit, so he can still have success.
“I’m a firm believer that if you put the guys around Eli, and you allow him to do what he’s best at, that he can still do that. We saw that at times this year when they protected him, when they played to his skill-set, he still played at a high level. If you don’t have those pieces around him, it doesn’t matter who you are. You’re going to look like you’re older, and people are going to wonder if you can still play.”
If Manning does ultimately remain with the Giants, Warner believes he’ll then have to alter his game in order to survive or find any success over the next few seasons.
“If you can’t get out of the pocket,” Warner said. “If you can’t play with your legs, like we’re seeing a lot of these young quarterbacks do, can you play within the pocket like a Tom Brady or Drew Brees? if you can do that, you can probably play into your 40s.”
Barring something unforeseen, the Giants are expected to bring Manning back in 2019 and, at least for now, it’s assumed he will be the starter. General manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur have each expressed their allegiance to Manning, but there’s no denying their reality: without beefing up that offensive line, it will be more of the same.