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New York Giants' Eli Manning is not in decline yet

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Eli Manning's former offensive co-ordinator has come out in defense of the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, who is coming in for some severe criticism of late.

But is it worthy criticism that Manning is receiving? First off, let's actually quote the damming material.

"There are those who wonder whether Manning is a player in decline at age 33," Dan Graziano wrote Friday.

"This is a question that has not gone unasked within the ranks of the Giants' front office. It is part of the reason the Giants decided not to try this offseason to extend Manning's contract, which runs through 2015, even though doing so would have offered them significant salary cap relief."

The New York Giants quarterback is allegedly in decline according to this so called sharp observers.

Those comments are not ridiculous, because Manning did after all oversee his Giants going 0-6 in the first six games of the 2013 season.

Now the team from the Big Apple did end up finishing the season 7-9, but their offense could only manage 31st place in the NFL offensive rankings.

One man is still certainly fighting his corner and that is Kevin Gilbride.

"There's been no deterioration of his arm strength, there's been no lack of preparation and effort," Kevin Gilbride said during an appearance on Pro Football Talk.

"I think he's going to be fine as soon as they solidify the offensive line. They certainly made a move to do that by bringing in three interior offensive linemen and as soon as they get somebody that's going to be productive for them as an outside receiver -- Victor Cruz is terrific, but they need somebody that when they go match up, bump and run [and] go win for them."

Despite what Gilbride has to say, Manning has to take a huge proportion of the blame for the Giants failing to deliver in 2013, but how much?

Yes sure, he didn't get much help from the run game, but to throw 27 interceptions is just criminal.

Quite a lot of those picks were not pressured and were unforced as well, which just makes those statistics even worse.

Manning's QB rating from the 2012 season to the 2013 campaign wasn't a steady drop, which would prove therein lies a decline.

For him it was more sharp drop from 87.2 to 69.4 that suggests last season could have just been a blip for the 33-year-old.

Now his last two years have brought a below 4,000 yard return in consecutive seasons, which is a slight worry. But to say he is in decline is simplifying a much more complex situation.

2014 will be the ultimate test of whether or not Manning is in true decline.

33 is the new 28 in the NFL for quarterbacks, and Manning has plenty of time to turn around a bad 2013, and push for a third shot at the Super Bowl in the coming years.

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New York Giants
Eli Manning
NFL Playoffs

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