Eli Manning
AP Photo/Mark Tenally

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning believes the offense could be better next year, even without Odell Beckham Jr.

Going into 2019, the New York Giants won’t have Odell Beckham Jr. on the roster for the first time since he was in college. Big Blue traded the star receiver to the Cleveland Browns in March for a first-round pick, a third-round pick, and safety Jabrill Peppers.

Remember the last time Eli Manning didn’t have Beckham as a target for an extended period of time? It was in 2017 when Beckham went down with a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5. The Giants then ended up with a disappointing 3-13 record that year.

So will the Giants offense decline without OBJ? Not according to Manning, who spoke on NFL Network last week.

“Odell obviously has that tremendous playmaking ability, he can catch a slant and turn it into a touchdown at any moment,” Manning said. “But I think Saquon [Barkley], in his second year, the way he came on — he played great in the first half but that second half he was coming on and doing everything. Running the ball, catching the ball, we learned how to use him.

“I think Sterling Shepard, getting him going, getting Evan Engram playing to his potential, and then Golden Tate, a run-after-catch guy, a playmaker. I think the offensive line we made some additions, bringing in [Kevin] Zeitler at guard and those guys, I think the second year of that offensive line together will make a difference and everybody going into the second year.”

The Giants offense was ranked 16th in the NFL this past year with an average of 23.1 points per game. However, Manning ultimately believes the Giants “can be productive and score more points and be a better offense” in 2019.

Rookies will report to training camp for Big Blue on July 22, with veterans reporting July 24. Fans will begin to see how the offense will pan out without the star receiver.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.