Before yesterday’s game in an exclusive interview for SNY.tv and NY Giants Rush I had the chance to interview former Giants star wide receiver Amani Toomer as he helped promote the Charmin Relief Project that was held in the MetLife Stadium. Charmin once again was back delivering a great tailgating experience with high end restroom for Giants fans.
If anyone has a pulse on Eli Manning and the lethargic New York Giants offense it would be Amani Toomer the Super Bowl Champion who played 13 years as a New York Giant.
“The running game needs to be consistent. The offensive line isn’t built to straight back pass block, it’s a play action team. When they don’t have a 50/50 balance or close to one, or the threat of a legit running game…that’s when you get so many interceptions when Eli is trying to make something happen.”
The Giants backfield is now big and brash, as it showcases Brown, Hillis, fullback Jon Connor and the “on the mend” Brandon Jacobs. Brown showed a mixture of speed and power on Sunday against the Raiders which helped the Giants win and even though Peyton Hillis fumbled early on in the game the two backs will wear down a defense as the season progresses.
I asked Amani about David Wilson, his patience as a runner, his place on this offense and his comparisons to Tiki Barber.
“When you have a speed back I don’t know how sustainable it is, because in the NFL you’re going to slow down because of an injury or two. How are going to play a long time when you’re only asset is speed, you can’t break tackles, you can’t make people miss…it just not a model you can sustain for a long time. Tiki was never a one-dimensional player. He could out run you, he could make you miss and he was hard to bring down. That’s what you look for in a running back and I haven’t seen that yet from David Wilson. You can always get better, but one thing you have to do to get better is be on the field.”
Despite the win fans were still looking for Eli to regain his old form and take over the game, but instead the fans were left asking what happened to their franchise quarterback. Amani’s insight played out right before the viewer’s eyes as Andre Brown made his 2013 regular season debut to the tune of 115 yards on 30 carries; however, even with the balance restored the 2x Super Bowl MVP was still getting hit hard, utilizing bad mechanics and throwing interceptions. Eli was sacked 3 times and hit 5 times and the game tape will probably show even more.
With 1:18 left in the 1st half Oakland’s No. 23 Tracey Porter easily picked off Eli Manning and returned it for a 43 yard touchdown putting the Raiders a head 17 to 14. Eli stared down the primary receiver making the read for Porter an easy play to make. Somehow No. 10 has fallen into a bevy of bad habits and its shows up every Sunday.
“Ultimately they don’t have asterisks by interceptions. It’s definitely on Eli. He needs to put the ball in an area the receivers can catch it easier, he’s had accuracy issues this year and is throwing the ball high. He isn’t playing his best football.”
The offensive line also needs to do a better job as Eli was only 12 for 22 and 140 yards. Against Oakland, Randle(50 yards), Nicks(49 yards) & Cruz(37 yards) all had average days highlighted by one vintage laser pass from Eli Manning giving fans hope. However, the Eli of old never appeared.
As Amani and Charmin teamed up and took over the Metlife Stadium parking lot transforming a tailgaters experience with luxury, state-of-the-art restrooms I had time to ask the Giants all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards some hard questions, especially about the future of Hakeem Nicks.
“It’s very hard to play for one team for a long time because you really have to be a player the team cannot do without. When I played it was different era. They were more patient with players, I didn’t get a chance to play until my third or fourth year, now if you’re a second rounder and not starting by your second or third year you’re labeled a bust. The only thing you can control is playing hard.”
Hakeem Nicks is one of the most talented receivers the franchise has ever had. For most of his career he has made almost every catch look routine and the New York Giant fan base does not want to see Nicks playing in another city, yet this entire season he looks like a player that has lost his confidence. Eli Manning should recognize that and find a way to stick the ball in hands.
“It’s going to be hard to keep Nicks. The team just signed Victor Cruz, that’s the big issue. Are they willing to take on that big of a number for that wide receiving corps. Then you fast forward two years and you have to do the same thing with Ruben Randle. Randle has been playing well so maybe the Giants think it’s only a small drop off sticking with Randle.”
As I toured the amazing 64 square foot Charmin bathroom facilities equipped Satellite TV, running water, and custom lighting I asked Amani about his Charmin experience.
“I always thought the fans were a big part of supporting our team when I played so I wanted to give back to the tailgaters with a clean Charmin experience. I did watch the pre-game show from the can this morning.” One can only hope the Giants do not go in the can the second half of this season.
Craig J. Santucci | Managing Editor NY Giants Rush