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Troy Aikman says Eli Manning is only as good as his O-line

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman talks during

Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman talks during an interview with The Associated Press in New York on Jan. 27, 2016. Credit: AP / Mark Lennihan

HOUSTON — Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman said Eli Manning will be fine just as long as the Giants get him some help up front.

After what many described as a down season for the 36-year-old Giants quarterback, Aikman, the lead analyst for Fox’s NFL broadcasts, said he did not see a drop in Manning’s play due to age.

“I don’t know if I saw a decline,” he said. “I saw an offensive line that didn’t afford him a lot of protection and made things very difficult. There were times when Eli maybe felt he had to be more than he probably should have felt. Does Eli need to play better? Yes, and I think he would be the first to acknowledge that. But I think that team has some holes they need to fix. They have to address that offensive line.”

The Giants’ pass protection struggled with second-year left tackle Ereck Flowers, and Bobby Hart and Marshall Newhouse each getting starts at right tackle. Giants general manager Jerry Reese has opened the door to the team exploring options with Flowers, a former first-round pick, which could include a move to a new position.

“We had a number of their games toward the end of the season and he knew there was an issue with those tackles on just about every drop-back to pass,” Aikman said. “That can’t happen if you want to have success.”

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