Monday, December 12, 2011

Giants: Eli NFL MVP

Before I get into analyzing the unbelievable Cowboys game Sunday night, I just have to get something off my chest. Eli is the MVP of the league this year and, IMHO, it's not really that close. I know Rodgers is a freak of nature and the world's most perfect QB. I know Brees is having a great year, has a quick release and is putting up just ridiculous numbers with the Saints. I am not even saying that Eli is better than those two, but I am saying that he has carried the entire Giants team on his back this year and has done almost as much as those other QBs with far less talent and resource surrounding him than either of those guys. Remember what MVP means - most valuable, not most talented, not best arm, not most yards.... most valuable. Without Eli's unbelievable year, the Giants are probably 3-10 or 4-9 to this point. Of the Giants 7 wins, 5 have been 4th quarter comebacks engineered by Eli.

Consider the following:
  • Giants have the worst offensive rushing numbers in the league.
  • Giants defense has been horrible this year and ranks way down near the bottom of the league.
  • Giants ST have been average, not hurting the team much but not helping either.
  • The only part of the Giants that has achieved some measure of excellence has been the passing game and that has been all through Eli's talented right shoulder.

Giants OL had been totally shuffled coming into the year. They brought in a new C, shifted the LT to LG and slid in a new LT to decidedly mixed results - it hadn't been terrible, with the notable exception of the home game against the Eagles, but it certainly hadn't been great. Then, the starting C goes out with an injury, the LT goes out with an injury, Giants have to reshuffle again. They slide the LG back out to LT and in game 12 have three players starting at new positions, including  two brand new starters in the middle of the OL at C and at LG, two guys with little starting experience in the league (actually one with 0 games started) and unproven, undetermined ability. Most offenses and QBs would melt under this pressure, but Eli fights through it without batting an eye. When there is pressure, Eli manages to sneak out and make the pass blocking look much better that it really is. Nobody is going to confuse Eli's running capability with Vick or Cam Newton, but he doesn't get enough credit for moving around just enough to make the OL look good.

Now consider the skill position players around Eli - Cruz and Ballard are both nice stories and Manningham has some skill, but realistically, of the starting WR / TE group, the only player that would get playing time on the Saints or Packers is Hakeem Nicks. Ballard probably would not even make the team up in Green Bay or down in New Orleans. Heck - he might have been headed to the practice squad for the Giants if Boss had re-signed instead of heading to Oakland. In the offensive backfield, I feel the same way about the talent back there. I like Bradshaw, Ware is an average player and Jacobs has had a bad year. Even though the running game seems to have had a little revival in the last two games against the Cowboys and Packers, I still contend, that none of the Giants RBs would get any playing time in New Orleans ahead of the talented group of RBs that they have. Is this a problem for Eli - nope, he took chicken  @#$%^    and made chicken salad out of it. In other words, while Rodgers and Brees are great players, Eli has definitely done more with less compared to them.

His passing has been uncannily accurate, his decision making and audible calling have been impeccable, his leadership and the calm nature that he brings to the huddle with which he imbues the entire team is the swizzle stick that stirs the drink. He hasn't carried the offense on his shoulders this year. He has carried the entire team.

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