If Golden Tate really believes Eli Manning is going to be a productive starting quarterback in 2019 he’s going to be sorely disappointed.
July is a month for optimism around the NFL. Even so, there are limits to what players should say to the media. Giants wide receiver Golden Tate needs to learn that lesson.
The 30-year-old wide receiver recently went on the record with his belief that quarterback Eli Manning still has a lot of “juice left.” In some ways, that’s what New York’s presumed No. 1 wide receiver should be saying about his veteran signal caller. After all, it doesn’t do Tate, or the Giants, any good to bash Manning at this juncture in the NFL calendar.
On the other hand, intimating that Manning is going to be a quality starter in 2019 is a bridge too far. It’s not as if Tate played football on the moon last season. He ended the 2018 campaign as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. It stands to reason that he was able to watch some film of Manning’s putrid play last season.
Watching Manning last season was downright painful for Giants fans. Even with Odell Beckham in the fold, the New York offense really struggled to push the ball down the field via their aerial attack. Anytime Manning was asked to throw the ball more than 10 yards down the field things became an unfortunate adventure. He managed to complete 66% of his passes, but his paltry average of 7.5 yards per attempt really hamstrung what his team could do on offense.
Expecting him to enjoy some sort of bounce back season at the age of 38 is madness on behalf of Tate and the Giants organization. There’s a reason they spent the No. 6 overall selection in April’s draft on a quarterback. Selecting Daniel Jones at that spot was a massive reach in the eyes of many NFL executives, but no rational observer is criticizing the Giants for addressing the quarterback position with a high draft pick.
The unfortunate irony here is that the Giants are going to do everything they can schematically to prop Manning up next season. Head coach Pat Shurmur’s offensive system will lean heavily on Saquon Barkley and the run game. New York will run the football as much as anyone in the NFL next season if they can find even a modicum of success on the ground.
Their hope will be to minimize the number of plays Manning is asked to make down the field. You might see him launch some deep throws, but don’t expect him to launch the ball into tight windows on obvious passing downs very often. Third and long will be a killer for the Giants offense with Manning at the helm.
The unfortunate truth for Tate is that he’s in for a tough season. His team isn’t going to win very many games, and he’s not going to get very man opportunities to make big plays down the field. His kind words about Manning might help him catch a lot of balls in 2019, but it’s hard to rack up a lot of yards with a quarterback who only likes to throw five yard passes.