Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Letter to Eli Manning Following His Third Abysmal Performance This Season, by Sara Hatch

Dear Eli,

I’ve been a Giants fan all my life and I’ve been a fan of you since you came on the team. I lived through the Kerry Collins offense for many years so it’s nice to finally have a quarterback who can run an offense on the field. This season has been especially enlightening (I lived in England for most of last season and was not able to view your progress then). You’ve shown no less than some of the purest talent I’ve seen in my time watching the NFL. Let’s face it, you’ve got amazing potential. But frankly, after suffering through a third straight loss that I can’t hang on anyone but you, I’ve become a little concerned.

There are a lot of reasons that you guys have lost the last three games. The roster of injuries on this team is overwhelming, and I don’t think anyone really appreciated Luke Petitgout before he broke his leg. Brandon Short and Michael Strahan are instrumental pieces in the defense. No less than that, but Strahan has really become the cheerleader for the defense—firing them up on every play, pulling together on a bad run. Even through all the injuries though, you guys have still held strong. Antonio Pierce seems better now than at the beginning of the season. Fred Robbins gets mentioned several times every game. Even the secondary is starting to tighten up a little, although they have a long way to come. But Eli, you are the scale on which all these things balance. And you’ve been tilting off to the side for weeks.

There is absolutely no reason that you aren’t up in the top 5 quarterbacks in the league. You’re extremely talented. When you take your time and step up in the pocket, your throws are like heat-seeking missiles. You can thread the ball past two defenders and into the hands of Jeremy or Plaxico like it’s nothing at all. But then two minutes later you can throw the same ball and have it picked. When you’re on a roll, like a few of the drives in the Jags game last night, you’re near unbeatable. But something seems to come loose when things aren’t going the right way and you seem to lose all confidence in your playing ability.

It must be hard being a Manning in this league, living in the shadow of not only your father but Peyton too. You’ve probably grown sick the number of times you’ve had your stats compared to Peyton or been mistaken for him. I understand the frustration. But here’s the thing. There’s a thin line separating you from mediocrity and greatness, and that line is all in your mind. You have been incredibly lucky to end up at a franchise that wants to make you one of its marquee players. You have a rock solid defense and an offense that can knock your socks off when they’re firing on all cylinders.

Whatever you need to do, you need to calm yourself down in your head. You need to throw to Jeremy early and often. He might be a little bit crazy off the field, but he’ll fight to the death for any pass that you throw him. You two seem to have this unmistakable connection. When you need a clutch play, he’s the guy you can go to. Same with Plaxico on long plays. He’s tall enough to reach over most cornerbacks and safeties. He’s the guy who will make those downfield catches for 20+ yards. Even Tim Carter has presence and can be a great asset. And never forget that you have two great running backs with explosive power off the line. The Jags had you stuffed, but once Bob Whitfield settles in you’ll start getting more running options—leaving you to make the big plays and better control the offense.

There is no end to my faith in you. But right now, this is succeeding or failing on your back. There’s no doubt in my mind that some day you will be compared to Peyton not as a younger brother but as a rival or equal. You are that good. It’s time to step up.

Sara Hatch

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At 1:50 AM , Anonymous Chris said...

You're just gonna let Coughlin off the hook? Kiwanuka? Burress? Don't get me wrong. Eli does suck. But come on. I say let Jacobs handle business.

"We are not worried about anyone else. No one's beat us. We only beat ourselves. And that is what we feel like in this locker room. No one is capable of hanging around when we play our game. People seen that when we played the Cowboys the first time. There is no way they have a chance in hell to beat us when we play our football. And that is the truth. No other team in this league."


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