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Eli Manning’s struggles and Odell Beckham Jr.’s antics are helping sink the Giants

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Eli Manning was once 24 for 43 for 281 yards and an interception Thursday evening in Philadelphia. (AP Photograph/Julio Cortez)

What’s worse at this point: Eli Manning’s deteriorating play or Odell Beckham Jr.’s immature behavior?

It’s a very close call, which tells you just about all that you need to know about the current state of the New York Giants.

The Giants’ season is in ruins. That became evident Thursday night at the Meadowlands. The Philadelphia Eagles got well. The Giants didn’t, as their record dropped to 1-5 with a dreary 34-13 loss to the Eagles.

It’s difficult to be non-competitive in this season’s NFC East, not to be mistaken for the rugged division of its glory days — or even for last season’s version, which produced a Super Bowl winner in the Eagles.

But the Giants have managed it. They are a mess.

“We didn’t do anything well enough to win,” Coach Pat Shurmur said at his postgame news conference Thursday.

They fell apart last season, going 3-13 on the heels of reaching the NFC playoffs in 2016. Ben McAdoo made an unforced public relations error by benching Manning late in the lost season, ending Manning’s lengthy consecutive games streak and unnecessarily humiliating an all-time franchise great who won two Super Bowls for the team. The Giants undid that mistake, giving the starting job right back to Manning and then performing an organizational housecleaning in which McAdoo was fired as coach and Jerry Reese was dismissed as general manager.

Surely things would be better this season with the new brain trust of Dave Gettleman as the GM and Shurmur as the coach.

Not so much.

The team’s new decision-makers took a major gamble by betting that they could have success in what’s left of Manning’s tenure with the franchise. The Giants could have taken a quarterback — Sam Darnold, Josh Allen or Josh Rosen — with the No. 2 overall selection in the NFL draft. They didn’t. They went with running back Saquon Barkley. The Giants figured that the presence of Barkley and the happiness of Beckham, signed to a new contract before the season to make him the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver, would change the equation for the 37-year-old Manning.

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Pat Shurmur, right, and Saquon Barkley on the sideline Thursday night (JASON SZENES/EPA-EFE/REX)

It hasn’t worked.

Last season, Manning deserved better from the Giants.

This season, it’s rapidly reaching the point at which the Giants deserve better from Manning.

Yes, his offensive line is bad. But by now, it’s clear that Manning’s play is part of the problem. The football simply does not arrive to receivers on time or on target. Manning too often settles for short check-down passes on plays in which he might be able to buy himself some time to deliver a throw down the field. A Fox camera appeared to show Shurmur saying, “throw the ball” on the sideline following one first-half play Thursday night.

Charley Casserly, the former GM of the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans, wrote on Twitter during the first half: “Seems to me Eli was bailing out of there instead of standing in there.”

Barkley is super. He had 130 speeding yards and 99 receiving yards Thursday. He grew to become one display screen go from Manning into a blinding 55-yard catch and run. However that doesn’t imply that the Giants essentially had been proper to circumvent a quarterback with the No. 2 selection.

“You simply merely can not go up on a kind of gamers,” Corridor of Reputation quarterback Troy Aikman mentioned at the Fox broadcast Thursday, speculating that Gettleman most likely didn’t imagine there was once a valid franchise quarterback to be had after the Cleveland Browns decided on Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 select.

What do the Giants do now? There is not any viable quick selection on a roster that incorporates backup Alex Tanney and rookie third-stringer Kyle Lauletta. Some other lofty draft selection might be within the offing subsequent 12 months. However will that quarterback be as promising as Darnold?

The opposite factor is whether or not the Giants may well be having purchaser’s regret concerning the Beckham deal. His skill is simple. It’s now not best the otherworldly catches; he has been persistently productive within the NFL.

However he additionally has been constantly immature. That endured Thursday evening when Beckham was once proven on digicam head-butting and punching a big fan at the Giants’ sideline.

He left the sphere with time closing at the clock within the first part. He reportedly returned to the sideline after the second one part had begun. Shurmur mentioned after the sport that Beckham went to the locker room to obtain an IV.

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Odell Beckham Jr. is tackled Thursday evening (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports activities)

He’s being paid now not best to be a really perfect participant but additionally, at this level in his occupation, to be a workforce chief and a pro. Interest for the sport is okay. But it surely’s time that Beckham learns the way to correctly channel it.

Not anything that he mentioned during his ESPN interview last weekend, with Lil Wayne seated at his side, was off base. The Giants’ offensive scheme should be questioned. Manning’s play should be scrutinized. But Beckham shouldn’t necessarily be the one to do it, not by calling out individuals on national TV. The Giants reacted by fining Beckham, Fox reported Thursday.

It’s stunning that it has gotten this bad, this fast, in the new season for the Giants.

And there’s little to no reason to believe that it will get better from here.

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