For the fourth time in five years, the New York Giants are 0-2. They lost in Dallas, 19-3, in Week 1, and they lost at home against the Lions, 24-10, on Monday Night Football in Week 2.
Eli Manning has completed 72.9 percent of his passes for 459 yards, but he also has two interceptions. The Giants, by the way, have been held to one touchdown in eight quarters.
It ain’t pretty. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
“It looks ugly. It looks really ugly,” Tiki Barber said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “As much as it pains me to say this, Eli cannot do it anymore. I don’t mean that as a knock to Eli. I mean this as a knock to all of these inferior players around him. He can’t make them great.”
Hakeem Nicks. Steve Smith. Kevin Boss. The list goes on.
“(When) all those guys left New York, they were terrible,” Barber said, “which tells me that they were really good in New York because Eli lifted them up. He made them better. He put them in positions to be successful. And right now, he can’t do that anymore. It doesn’t mean he’s a bad quarterback. It just means he’s at the point where he can’t do that any longer.”
Barber, 42, shared the New York backfield with Manning, 36, from 2004-06. The Giants made the playoffs in 2005 and 2006, losing in the Wild Card both times. In 2007, Manning and the Giants won the Super Bowl. Then they did it again in 2011.
Outside of that, it’s been tough sledding for much of the past decade.
“You have to run the ball with Eli at quarterback,” Barber said. “If you can’t run, his biggest chip, the ace up his sleeve, you just set on fire.”
The Giants have rushed 30 times for just 97 yards (3.2 yards per carry) through two games. Their leading receiver is running back Shane Vereen, who has 12 catches, while their yards leader is tight end Evan Engram (93). Manning has been sacked eight times – second only to Browns rookie DeShone Kizer (nine).
Translation: the offensive line has been abysmal.
“If Ereck Flowers has a job on Wednesday morning, then Eli Manning might be in a body bag three weeks from now,” Barber said. “I’m serious. The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense is really good, and they get after the quarterback. If Ereck Flowers is allowed to protect Eli Manning’s backside any longer, Eli is going to get killed. Ereck Flowers can’t be your left tackle any longer. Ereck Flowers either has to go to tackle or has to go inside to guard or sit on the bench. Whatever it is, he cannot be on Eli’s backside. He’s terrible. He gets run over, he gets bulldozed, he gets bull-rushed, he gets swum through – it doesn’t matter. He’s confused. He’s staring up into the third row into the stands. He can’t figure out what happened to the guy that was standing in front of him. He is going to get Eli killed.”
Brandon Tierney agrees.
“He’s truly the worst offensive lineman I’ve ever seen,” Tierney said of the 2015 first-round pick out of Miami. “He’s garbage.”
Overall, Barber is disappointed in the Giants’ performance thus far this season.
“At the end of the day, my expectation that I had for this team is so crushed right now because they still can’t run the ball, they’re making bad decisions, they’re getting booed at home on the first series, and Ben McAdoo looks overmatched as a play-caller,” Barber said. “He was great two years ago, but right now he looks overmatched as a play-caller, and that’s frustrating to me and it’s frustrating to every Giants fan who thought that this team could be a Super Bowl contender.”
McAdoo, in fact, called out Manning after the loss to the Lions, saying New York lost because of “sloppy quarterback play.”
Yeah, publicly calling out your quarterback maybe wasn’t the best choice.
“He’s lost,” Tierney said. “Offensive genius, my ass. McAdoo’s lost. He can’t scheme the O-Line. I’m not even a Giants fan and I’m worked up over this. This guy, shovel, soil, circle last night – that is the end of McAdoo. Book it.”
The Giants play each of their next two games on the road: at Philadelphia (1-1) and at Tampa Bay (1-1). Kickoff against the Eagles is slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.