Entering the 2019 season, the most monumental pressure in East Rutherford would appear to be squarely on the shoulders of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
The Giants, of course, selected rookie quarterback Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, signalling the beginning of the end for an aging Manning. To top that off, Jones has looked stunning at times in practice, picking up the team’s offense at a faster pace than anyone could have predicted.
Meanwhile, Manning has drawn mixed reviews for his arm strength in the early going, suggesting that the non-existent quarterback competition may actually be coming into play.
But retired Giant Shaun O’Hara doesn’t believe Manning is the only player or coach feeling the heat. Rather, from the very top to the very bottom, he says the entire organization senses the dire nature of the situation they currently find themselves in.
“This is the biggest September the Giants have had in a long time,” O’Hara said, via NJ Advance Media.
“They need to win some football games early on. Not just for Eli, but for the coaching staff, too. If you are Coach Shurmur, you are not sitting there saying, ‘Oh, I’ve got three years.’ Everybody in that building feels the heat. It’s not just Eli.”
Given the extensive amount of work done by general manager Dave Gettleman & Co., it’s easy to see the pressure mounting. It’s also why the Giants, who face the Cowboys, Bills, Buccaneers and Redskins over the first four weeks of the regular season, need to get off to a fast start.
“Their schedule is a good schedule,” said O’Hara, who currently works as an NFL Network analyst. “I think they’ve got a good chance to start fast. If you take care of business on the field, all of that will fall into place.”
The good news for Big Blue? O’Hara believes Manning still has it and that his arm is as strong as ever.
“I chuckle at the reports that Eli can’t play quarterback and has lost it,” O’Hara said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. The good and the bad of playing quarterback is you get the wins and you also get the losses.
“The Giants have lost a lot of games the last few years. They are not all Eli’s fault. None of them are because Eli can’t throw completions. Try hit a home run with somebody diving at your legs or falling at your ankles. There is nothing wrong with his arm.
“The guy doesn’t get out of shape, he doesn’t stop working out. He loves hte game, but he loves the grind and he loves working out. His arm is just as strong. I’ve caught balls from him pretty much every summer for the last few years and that thing is humming.”
The Giants have traditionally played well under pressure, so now we wait and see if history repeats itself.