liny195 created the topic: Perspectives: Time for Eli to shine
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, the locker room’s new vibe and concerns about OV Anyone who has followed me over the years knows that when it comes to the play of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, I’ve been quick to point out various factors behind his seemingly “declining” play which, as of last year, came to a head.No running game? Yes. Losing your top receivers? Yes. Playing in a scheme that doesn’t really complement what you do well? Yup. Playing behind a banged up offensive line that offered protection that left a lot to be desired? Absolutely.Well for those of you who were looking for wholesale changes, general manager Dave Gettleman heard you loud and clear.Manning now has the type of arsenal that most quarterbacks dream of — a running back who can also double as a force in space; the game’s best receiver; a solid tight end and complementary pieces that give the Giants depth at their skill positions that they haven’t had in a very long time. While there are still questions about the offensive line, on paper and in the handful of preseason snaps this unit took together, they’re already well ahead of where last year’s opening lineup was. As for the scheme, the Giants finally have a coach at the helm who is making the scheme all about the players rather than trying to fit square pegs into round holes as the previous head coach and architect of the offense did.In other words, the stars are aligned for 37-year-old Eli Manning to have the kind of success that has largely escaped him the last few years. While a legitimate argument can be made that Manning’s arm strength isn’t quite what it used to be, people need to remember that in Pat Shurmur’s eyes, arm strength isn’t as important as making lightning fast decisions, something Manning has always done well.With a better supporting cast around him, there’s no reason to think that Manning won’t look like his old self out there. If the Giants are to have any chance of becoming relevant again, they will need him to.Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesA question I’ve received several times this offseason that I haven’t really been able to answer because reporters weren’t allowed into the locker room until this week is what the atmosphere is inside of the locker room.Having been in the locker room several times this week, my initial impression is that the players are much calmer this year. There’s a sense of urgency, don’t get me wrong. But in taking on the personality of their head coach, the players seem to be living in the moment, meaning there hasn’t been any trash talking or chests puffed out to the next county. The players have been accommodating — probably more so than I can remember of late — and have spoken to the media with a sense of sincerity when it comes to the opponent and for the task at hand.One thing that has especially struck me as being different is the number of players who are out in the open locker room interacting with their teammates. I can only speak about the 45 minutes or so the media gets during the day, but I’ve seen far more instances of either position groups hanging around together or guys who in the past might have sought refuge from the areas off limits to the media being in the open locker room.For example, every day this week, offensive linemen Jon Halapio, John Greco and Will Hernandez were at their respective lockers (Halapio has the corner locker, followed by Greco and then Hernandez). Whether they were just sitting around shooting the breeze or whatever
, that is the kind of cohesiveness that I often thought was missing last year.Also a somewhat new sight this week was that receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was present in the open locker room virtually every day. In the past, Beckham would only be seen extensively if it was his scheduled day to speak to the media, but this week, he was out and available, even engaging in a friendly game of cards with teammate Jonathan Stewart while sprawled out on his belly. Landon Collins, a newly-elected team captain, has always been good about being present in the open locker room. This year, he’s been joined by another team captain, Michael Thomas, who is routinely at his locker where he engages in friendly chats with teammates. Remember, these are the guys who are gong into battle with one another. The more you get to know each other, the better it is for when split-second decisions have to be made with the game on the line.Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsThe Giants made it official Friday by declaring edge rusher Olivier Vernon (ankle) out of Sunday’s regular-season home opener.Earlier this week, head coach Pat Shurmur said that Vernon is a “fast healer,” but let’s be realistic. That Vernon has not been seen since he injured the ankle August 26 is concerning. Usually with an injured player, he at least comes out to work on a side field with a trainer during practice just to work on movement.Vernon hasn’t even been able to do that so far. Although it’s too early to wonder about next week, I think you have to face the possibility that until he can get out there and do something — anything — on the field, the Giants could be looking at the very real possibility of having to be without their best defensive player for multiple games. With the playoffs quickly approaching, there are a couple rare intriguing waiver wire adds this week — both players who can help now and down the stretch. If your team needs a boost or just some depth for the next few weeks, these guys could be great additions:Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore RavensRostered - Yahoo: 8 percent | ESPN: 6.7 percentRarely will I mention a quarterback as a must add. Quarterbacks are the fantasy version of real-life running backs where the level of replacement is so high, there’s not really a need to make an effort to get to the top tier. But this late in the season, the possibility of Lamar Jackson as a starting quarterback could be a league-changer. Joe Flacco’s health is up in the air
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, which could open the door for Jackson. We don’t know how he’ll be as a starter, but the upside with his rushing ability alone would make him a more than viable fantasy quarterback. Jackson is a worthwhile add and stash if you’re a team trending towards the playoffs and have the roster space to add a second quarterback — again, usually not something I would recommend. Jackson could easily be a QB1 as soon as he steps on the field.Josh Reynolds, WR, Los Angeles RamsRostered - Yahoo: 4 percent | ESPN: 1.1 percentWith Cooper Kupp out for the season, Josh Reynolds will slot in as the Rams’ third receiver. He’s already filled that role for two starts and in one of them put up 19 PPR fantasy points. Los Angeles runs almost exclusively out of three wide receiver sets, so Reynolds will be on the field a lot. He has the ability to play the Kupp role and can also get downfield more often. If not for the immediate impact, Reynolds could have even more opportunity in the fantasy playoffs should the Rams start to rest players with the division basically locked up early.Keke Coutee, WR, Houston TexansRostered - Yahoo: 20 percent | ESPN: 13.6 percentCoutee has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury and Houston had a bye in Week 10, so there’s a good chance he became a free agent at some point due to someone needing more roster space — he’s only rostered in 20 percent of Yahoo leagues. When Coutee was on the field, the Texans found a way to get him touches. Now he might only be the third option with Demaryius Thomas now in the fold, but that was also the case with Will Fuller on the field. Thomas can now take some of the shorter routes and Coutee can shift to some of the higher upside deep targets that Fuller had before his injury. Coutee looks like he’s ready to return to the lineup in Week 11.Josh Adams, RB, Philadelphia EaglesRostered - Yahoo: 14 percent | ESPN: 5.9 percentThere hasn’t really been a breakout moment for Josh Adams, but when he’s been on the field, he’s looked like the Eagles’ best option at running back. Over his past two games, he’s carried the ball 16 times for 108 yards. The problem with that production is that it’s over two games, which doesn’t help much for fantasy purposes, but that might not be the case for much longer. On Monday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said Adams will get more carries going forward. There might never be a clear workhorse in the Philadelphia backfield, but even getting a majority of the carries could make Adams a useful player for the remainder of the season.