Tiki Barber: Eli Manning can’t make Giants great, might be in body bag in three weeks

Things aren't going so well for the New York Giants. After an 11-5 season a year ago, the Giants are off to an 0-2 start thanks to inadequate offensive line play, shaky quarterbacking by Eli Manning and Odell Beckham's ankle injury. And now, after a double-digit loss to the Lions on Monday night, it's time to play the blame game.

After Giants coach Ben McAdoo threw himself and Manning under the bus following Monday's game, former Giants running back Tiki Barber gave his take. According to Barber, Manning "cannot do it anymore." And by "it," he means make the Giants great.

"It looks ugly," he said on "Tiki and Tierney" on CBS Sports Radio and CBS Sports Network. "It looks really ugly. As much as it pains me to say this, Eli cannot do it anymore. I don't mean that as a knock to Eli. I mean this as a knock to all of these inferior players around him. He can't make them great. (When) all those guys (Steve Smith, Kevin Boss, Hakeem Nicks and others) left New York, they were terrible, which tells me that they were really good in New York because Eli lifted them up. He made them better. He put them in positions to be successful. And right now, he can't do that anymore. It doesn't mean he's a bad quarterback. It just means he's at the point where he can't do that any longer."

For what it's worth, Manning accepted the criticism (not Barber's specifically) on Tuesday.

"Hey, you lose games, you only score 10 points, you deserve some criticism," Manning told WFAN's Mike Francesa, via CBS New York. "Coach McAdoo knows I can handle it."

That said, while Manning didn't take a direct shot at his shaky offensive line, he did say something that indicates he's not happy with the unit -- or at the very least, he sounds like someone who understands the reality of his bad situation. 

That's something Barber would agree with. Barber called for left tackle Ereck Flowers to lose his job after a disastrous outing on Monday night. If not, Barber said Manning "might be in a body bag."

"If Ereck Flowers has a job on Wednesday morning, then Eli Manning might be in a body bag three weeks from now. I'm serious," Barber said. "The Philadelphia Eagles' defense is really good, and they get after the quarterback. If Ereck Flowers is allowed to protect Eli Manning's backside any longer, Eli is going to get killed. Ereck Flowers can't be your left tackle any longer. Ereck Flowers either has to go to tackle or has to go inside to guard or sit on the bench. Whatever it is, he cannot be on Eli's backside. He's terrible. He gets run over, he gets bulldozed, he gets bull-rushed, he gets swum through – it doesn't matter. He's confused. He's staring up into the third row into the stands. He can't figure out what happened to the guy that was standing in front of him. He is going to get Eli killed."

It doesn't sound like McAdoo, who Barber said "looks overmatched as a play-caller," will be benching Flowers, though.

So, to sum up: The Giants are 0-2, everyone -- from the coach to the quarterback to the left tackle -- is to blame, the coach refuses to fix the most glaring issue, and the Giants are now going to be forced to play against an Eagles team that has already racked up eight sacks in two games. Yikes.

The good news for New York is that, in this dark time, the state can always turn to the Jets Bills Knicks Mets Yankees.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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