When Eli Manning was benched on Tuesday morning, the storyline quickly switched from whether or not rookie Daniel Jones could lead the offense to focus on the Hall of Fame. "Is the two-time Super Bowl champion worthy of being enshrined in the hallowed halls?" The opinions vary wildly, based on a multitude of factors, and this debate will continue to rage for years as both sides make their arguments. However, former NFL safety Ryan Clark doesn't believe that this conversation is that simple.
Wednesday morning, Clark made his feelings about Manning very clear during ESPN's Get Up. As he explained, the Giants quarterback should get into the Hall of Fame, and he will get into the Hall of Fame.
However, Clark still believes that Manning wasn't that good of a quarterback during his career. His reasoning boiled down to how various defenses and coordinators planned for games against the Giants.
"I also believe Eli Manning will get into the Hall of Fame. I also don't believe he's a very good quarterback."September 18, 2019
"I think that those two things can exist together," Clark said. "I'm not going to sit here and knock Eli Manning or knock people who are in the Hall of Fame because I will not be. And contrary to popular belief, I don't really care. When I look at Eli Manning, what you have to say about a quarterback, 'this quarterback was a game plan for.'
"You heard Bill Belichick saying, 'make him throw it to Mario Manningham.' There has never been a time in the world where you are playing against Aaron Rodgers, and you say, 'make Aaron Rodgers throw it to anybody.' You say, 'we gotta find a way to get it out of his hands.'"
As Clark continued to explain, this also pertains to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. These signal-callers are those that you want to disrupt and force them to hand the ball off. The reason being that both Brady and Rodgers can find ways to score regardless of who is lining up at wide receiver. Clark believes that Manning often struggled to make routine throws at critical moments and was liable to throw an interception.
Even when paired with Victor Cruz, Plaxico Burress, or Odell Beckham Jr., there were still some mystifying throws that resulted in big plays for the defense. For this reason, Clark believes that Manning wasn't that great of a quarterback. Still, he can't argue with the two Super Bowl victories over the Patriots, as well as the MVP awards in each game.
There is no denying that Manning will eventually get into the Hall of Fame, and Clark understands that fact. But he still believes that the Giants quarterback can be known as both a Hall of Fame player as well as an average starter.