Our Craig Santucci interviewed former Giant WR Amani Toomer at MetLife last Sunday at an event sponsored by Charmin....
Before Sunday’s game against the Raiders, in an exclusive interview, 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.
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 Giant.
“The running game needs to be consistent," Toomer said. "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 Andre Brown, Peyton Hillis, fullback Jon Connor and the “on the mend” Brandon Jacobs. Brown showed a mixture of speed and power against the Raiders, which helped the Giants win, and though Hillis fumbled early on in the game, the two backs will wear down a defense as the season progresses.
I asked Toomer about David Wilson's 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," he said. "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 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. Instead, the fans were left asking what happened to their franchise quarterback?
Amani’s insight played out before the fans eyes as Brown made his 2013 debut to the tune of 115 yards on 30 carries. Even with the balance restored, the 2x Super Bowl MVP was still getting hit hard, utilizing bad mechanics and throwing interceptions. No. 10 was sacked three times, hit five times and the game tape will probably show even more.
With 1:18 left in the first half, Oakland’s Tracy 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," Toomer said. "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, Ruben Randle (50 yards), Hakeem Nicks (49 yards) and Victor Cruz (37 yards) all had average days, highlighted by one vintage, laser pass from Manning giving fans hope. However, the Eli of old never re-appeared.
I also 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," he said. "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. 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.”