Eli’s no mentor — Giants’ Gettleman should keep him No. 1
The first question posed to new Giants general manager Dave Gettleman at his introductory press conference was about the status of quarterback Eli Manning:
"Only three guys on this team (were) here when I left — Eli, JPP and Zak DeOssie. In regards to Eli, the bottom line is I’m an inveterate film watcher. I haven’t had access to tape. I’m not avoiding the question — you have to look at the film, see what’s cooking and listen, Eli has won a lot of games, is a great competitor very intelligent, and he and I are going to talk. If what I saw in Philadelphia is not a mirage and I don’t believe it was, we’ll keep moving."
If the Giants keep moving with Eli, does that mean that they don't take a quarterback with their top draft choice?
"I’ll address that right now: You can never have too many players at one position. We had Strahan, Osi, drafting Tuck and Kiwanuka, and people are looking at us like we don’t know what we’re doing," Gettleman said.
So there you have it. The smart move for the Giants is to keep starting Eli Manning while drafting their next quarterback and let the competition play out over the next two years. Forget about Eli mentoring. Franchise quarterbacks are there to be just that. They're not interested in the next generation. They want to build their own legacy. and that's by winning.
Eli Manning has two years left on his contract, He keeps the job as long as he's good enough to stay there. That gives the next quarterback a chance to watch and learn from one of the best. He can learn Eli's work ethic, how he approaches games, how he leads and hopefully how he handles the fourth quarter in the playoffs and Super Bowl. Eli has earned that.
But remember, I said "as long as he's good enough to stay there." Should Eli falter as the starting quarterback and the coaches decide it's time to test drive that new car in the garage, then Eli gracefully steps aside and lets them do that without any dramatics. That what competition is, and I don't think Eli, based on what he's said, would want it any other way.
A big part of whether Eli stays will depend on whether the Giants' new coaching staff retains offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan in some capacity. Sullivan's been with Eli from the beginning, either as quarterback coach or offensive coordinator, save for a few years in Tampa Bay. If Sullivan stays, look for Eli to get that roster bonus due at the start of the new league year. Also, if Sullivan stays, he and Manning will make a great support system for the new quarterback.
It was never a good idea to ask Eli Manning to mentor anyone. He's too much of a competitor for that. This way, he gets to compete.
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