Good morning, Birds fans! Sunday night’s loss was a tough one, but the Eagles have moved on and begun preparations for the Lions. I’m sure you have. The team has been down this road recently, having started 1-1 in the previous two seasons. The Eagles won the following week each time, and in the case of 2017, won their next nine games. This week’s schedule is like most for a Sunday 1 p.m. kickoff. There will be practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and a walk-through Saturday. Meetings and conditioning will be interspersed throughout each day.
Doug Pederson will meet with reporters Wednesday, so we should have a better understanding of where the Eagles stand in relation to injuries to key players like DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, and Dallas Goedert.
— Jeff McLane (firstname.lastname@example.org)
New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur announced Tuesday that rookie Daniel Jones would replace Eli Manning as starting quarterback. It was a foregone conclusion except that it happened maybe a few games before some had expected, but it still marks the end of era.
Manning, except for a one-week benching in 2017, started in every game for the Giants from the end of 2004 to the first two weeks of 2019. Overall, that’s 232 total starts. He has never missed a game to injury. And, oh yeah, he won two Super Bowls as MVP.
Manning’s durability and his clutch play during those two championship runs should probably be the first two achievements carved on his tombstone, but they shouldn’t be enough to earn him a bust in Canton. Of course, he will get in the Hall of Fame. He will be voted in by the writers because of those two aforementioned feats, but also because he played in New York, has a football royalty last name, and stood by his locker stall and answered question after question, however bland the responses might have been.
I am not a Manning hater. While his career numbers were average, and probably below average in comparison to his peers, I do realize that surface statistics can be hollow in certain circumstances. Manning, for instance, engineered 37 game-winning drives in his career, and for comparison, that’s just seven fewer than Tom Brady, who has played in 37 more career games.
Most voters will point to his success in the postseason, where he went 8-4 and went on two memorable Super Bowl runs. I sat in the press box at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2012 and watched Manning toss one of the best passes ever, considering the circumstances, to Mario Manningham on the Giants’ game-winning drive in Super Bowl XLVI. That took stones.
Manning was a professional, a great teammate and an ambassador for the sport, and all those things should be weighed when approximating his candidacy.
But he shouldn’t get a gold jacket. If there was a Hall of Good, he could get in on the first ballot. But he was arguably never a top-five player at his position. In fact, he was often never close. In his best season, he finished seventh in passer rating. That was an anomaly. He usually finished in the high teens or 20s. His average passer rating was 19th.
Stats aside, he wasn’t exactly a perennial winner, either. His career record was an even .500: 116-116.
I’ve heard various arguments made for and against Manning this week. I’ve seen various players his case has been compared to. But the best one I could find was Jim Plunkett. Eagles fans, of course, remember Plunkett from his MVP performance in Super Bowl XV.
Plunkett also won two Super Bowls as a starting quarterback. He also finished his career with a .500 record: 72-72. And he also wasn’t ever considered a top-five player at his position and often finished near the middle or bottom of quarterback statistics.
And guess what: Plunkett isn’t in the Hall. There are many differences between Manning’s and Plunkett’s careers. The former has a stronger case for Canton for various reasons, some of which I listed above. But if the Super Bowl were the only reason to vote players into the Hall, and I understand that quarterbacks are valued more, then there would be a whole bunch of additional guys with strong cases.
Manning was good in his two appearances, but the Giants won more on the strength of their defenses, particularly in 2007, when they toppled the undefeated Patriots. Even Plunkett had better passing numbers in his Super Bowls — a 122.8 rating vs. Manning’s 96.2 — when the NFL wasn’t as geared toward the air game.
So there’s my case against, and that’s not red meat for Eagles fans, who are probably not happy to see Manning go.
In 32 meetings, including two playoff games, Manning was 10-22 against the Eagles.
Randle, you’re a special guy, but not because you asked this question. You’re just one of many, so I figured I’d just get it out of the way here. I can also see why so many other websites are willing to throw any trade scenario against a wall because — clicks! Fans love trades, no matter how much sense they may or may not make.
Trading for Jalen Ramsey would make sense in that he’s probably better than any cornerback the Eagles have right now. Strike that. He is better, and I haven’t even seen him in Jim Schwartz’s scheme. But there are so many other variables for Howie Roseman to consider when making a deal. What’s it going to cost? How will said player affect the salary cap? How will his skills translate into the scheme? How will he fit in the locker room? Can he adjust to the change in culture? Can he handle the Philadelphia pressure? How’s he with the media? And so on.
Roseman loves a trade as much as any general manager. He throws out low-ball offers all the time that never see the light of day. From what I understand, he made one for former Dolphins defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, but it wasn’t anywhere near what the Steelers offered. So was it even really that serious?
Ramsey has lockdown skills, but I don’t think he’s as good as some think. He thinks he’s the best, as he should, and I bet his swag would appeal to Schwartz. The Eagles have taken on off-the-field problem child before and done just fine assimilating him into the locker room (see: Jay Ajayi). But that was after a winning culture had been established. I don’t know if tossing Ramsey into this early mix would be the best course. I might want to give it some time. Let’s see if Ronald Darby can work himself back into form. Let’s see if Sidney Jones can develop into the talent you thought when you expended a second-round pick for him, knowing full well he’d miss a year. Let’s see how Rasul Douglas does.