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Saquon Barkley defends embattled Eli Manning: ‘It’s not his fault’

Eli Manning has been under fire for some time now over the notion he’s the main reason for the New York Giants’ ongoing woes, but Saquon Barkley believes the blame is misplaced. Instead, the emerging superstar running back argues that it’s about the team, not one individual.

“Yeah, it bothers me. I’m not going to lie because it’s not his fault,” Barkley told Bleacher Report, via the New York Post. “He’s not the reason why. We love to put the blame on one person, but it takes 11 men, a team and an organization all together to win.”

Manning has been the favorite punching bag for critics seeking to explain the disappointing past two seasons, campaigns in which the Giants posted a 3-13 record in 2017 while going 5-11 in 2018.

Manning, 38, perhaps is not the quarterback he once was, but he did enjoy a decent 2018 campaign by statistical standards, completing 66 percent of his passes for 4,299 yards with 21 touchdowns to 11 interceptions.

The performance has inspired the Giants to anoint the embattled Manning as the starting quarterback to begin the 2019 season, if not longer.

The Giants nevertheless need to prepare for the future at the quarterback position, something general manager Dave Gettleman addressed this week at the NFL owners meetings. Gettleman added that Manning is “still a quality NFL quarterback” and any suggestions otherwise are based upon a
“false narrative.”

It’s unclear if the Giants intend to address the quarterback situation in the draft, as the team boasts the No. 6 pick. However, a report suggests the team may be interested in making a blockbuster trade to acquire Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen.

Either way, despite Manning’s many detractors outside the Giants organization, it sounds like many within the locker room continue to keep the faith.