Giants' O-line will determine Eli Manning's success, Kevin Gilbride says

Kevin Gilbride and Eli manning discuss play selection Kevin Gilbride and Eli manning discuss play selection during a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Photo Credit: David Pokress, 2011

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When Newsday's Bob Glauber caught up with NBC Sports analyst Kevin Gilbride in mid-August, the former Giants coordinator still was expressing cautious optimism about Eli Manning and the team's new offense under Ben McAdoo.

Well, that was two preseason games ago. Has his confidence wavered yet?

"The thing that will be fascinating to see is, they threw everything at [Manning], so it's impossible to judge how far along they are now when they tear it away and focus in specifically on an opponent, so it will be a much more narrow game plan," Gilbride said Tuesday.

"I think you'll get a much more accurate reading as to whether or not the skill level is there for them to execute. I honestly don't think [the preseason] was really an accurate barometer of where they are or how good they could be."

One element of the offense certainly should be improved.

"The running backs are far superior to what we had last year," he said. "It's not even close."

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The biggest key, Gilbride said, figures to be the line.

"I think they've added five different guys on the offensive line, and it remains to be seen whether they're the right five," he said. "If you give Eli sufficient time, he's going to perform.

"There is a transition that's going on. There's no question that's a process that takes time. How far along and everything else, it remains to be seen how far they've evolved . . . If the line is good enough, I think [Manning] will perform. There's no doubt in my mind."

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