It would be easy and convenient for former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride to adopt the notion that quarterback Eli Manning is in decline. After all, that would make the team’s poor offensive performance in 2013 seem more like Manning’s responsibility and less like Gilbride’s.
But that’s not what Gilbride said when given the chance to address the question of whether Eli’s play is slipping. Appearing in studio as a guest analyst on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk, Gilbride dismissed the idea that Eli has lost his edge.
“There’s been no deterioration of his arm strength, there’s been no lack of preparation and effort,” Gilbride said. “I think he’s going to be fine as soon as they solidify the offensive line. They certainly made a move to do that by bringing in three interior offensive linemen and as soon as they get somebody that’s going to be productive for them as an outside receiver — Victor Cruz is terrific, but they need somebody that when they go match up, bump and run [and] go win for them.”
So is Eli in decline?
“I think that’s, to be honest with you, ludicrous,” Gilbride said. “I think he’s going to be fine. . . . He’s going to throw the ball to the right person and he’s going to throw it accurately.”
Over the weekend, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reported that the question of whether Eli is in decline “has not gone unasked” in the team’s front office. And it’s a fair question to at least ponder, given that Eli sits two seasons away from a new contract, with salaries of $15.1 million in 2014 and $17 million in 2015.