Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber believes that Eli Manning has a couple of good years left.
“I think it’s the right move,” Barber told Dan Duggan of NJ Advanced Media. “There were so many things I could have pointed to last year like, ‘This is the problem. This is the problem.’ Never once was I saying, ‘Eli is the problem.’ I think he’s got a couple of good years left in him. If they stay healthy – Odell [Beckham Jr.] was hurt for most of the year – and they get a couple of free-agent offensive lineman or draft someone, they can turn this thing quickly if they figure out how went from 11-5 to 3-13 last year.”
Barber hasn’t always been supportive of Manning, however. In 2007 he criticized Manning’s leadership, calling it “comical,” and he questioned whether Manning could be a leader. But that all seems to be in the past.
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Speaking of OBJ, the Giants have to decide what they are going to do with Beckham as he enters the final year of his contract. For what it’s worth, Barber is a fan of the dynamic wideout.
“I love Odell,” he said. “Odell is one of those guys who’s polarizing and you hate him if he’s one the other team, you love him if he’s on your team. He’s still got to mature, but I love his game. It’s hard to look at a guy like that and say, ‘I don’t want you on my team.'”
The former Pro Bowl running back also likes the moves the team has made when it comes to its leadership structure. Dave Gettleman, the team’s new general manager, was the Giants pro personnel director when Barber was with Big Blue.
“I think they have the right man at the helm. Obviously, I’m a fan of Dave Gettleman because I’ve known him since I was there,” he said of Gettleman. “So, personnel-wise things will get where they need to be.”
Barber put his stamp of approval on new head coach Pat Shurmur as well.
“Shurmur brings a calmness that I think hasn’t been there,” he said. There’s been a lot of frenetic decision-making it feels like the last couple of years. The fact that he went somewhere and failed as a head coach gives you a perspective. I honestly believe you have to fail to ultimately find success. We’ve seen it over and over and over again, whether it’s with players or especially with coaches. I’m optimistic about what 2018 brings for this team.”
We’ll have to wait and see if Barber is right about Manning having a couple of good years left, but it’s nice to see people outside the organization having an optimistic view of what’s to come.