EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - There is reason to worry in Philadelphia where their offseason game of quarterback roulette left them with Carson Wentz, who is hoping to make the jump from North Dakota State right to a starting job in the NFC East. In Dallas, there is excitement about Dak Prescott, but as a rookie he's an unknown too.
That leaves Washington's Kirk Cousins, at age 28 and entering only his second season as the unquestioned starter, and Eli Manning, age 35 and getting ready to start his 184th consecutive NFL game. Suddenly the most important position in the NFC East has become a young and inexperienced man's game.
Except for Manning, who insists that all the kids around him don't make him feel old at all.
"No," he said on Monday. "It doesn't make me feel any older. I've just got to go continue to work and to do my job well."
It's fair to say that over the last decade or so, no quarterback in the division has done it better than the two-time Super Bowl MVP. There have been times, especially the last few years, when he's been one of the only bright spots on some dreadful Giants teams. He's proven he's capable of carrying them to a championship (see: 2011 and Super Bowl XLVI) and the last two years he's helped them to Top 10 offenses despite a poor running game and offensive line.
This year he may have a slightly better cast around him than he's had recently (assuming the offensive line isn't as bad as it's looked all summer), and after a $200 million spending spree he should be backed by a much stronger defense, too.
But there is no doubt: The Giants' hopes and dreams rest almost solely on the right arm and shoulder of Manning. He remains, as always, the player the Giants can least afford to lose.
It makes the quarterback shuffling of Monday seem a little silly. So the Giants brought in Josh Johnson to compete with Ryan Nassib after he struggled all summer long. So what? When the Giants drafted Nassib in the fourth round in 2013, GM Jerry Reese said "You actually hope this quarterback never plays." It's safe to say he still feels the same way, and that he hopes Johnson shares a similar fate, too.
Because neither of them can do what Manning can do - certainly not now, and maybe never. In each of the last two seasons - his first two with Ben McAdoo running the offense - he topped 4,400 yards and 30 touchdowns with only 14 interceptions each year. His completion percentage jumped from 57.5 the year before McAdoo arrived to 63.1 and 62.6.
At an age where he may be pondering the eventual end of his career, especially with the retirement of his brother Peyton, Eli Manning is showing signs of getting better with age.
And he better, because what else do the Giants have? Their offensive line has been a disaster most of the summer, which could be especially problematic for the Giants when they try to establish something of a rushing attack. The holes just haven't been there for the running backs to run through. And thanks to some poor pass blocking, the quarterbacks have been under duress, too.
Put Nassib or Johnson in there in that situation and it could be the beginnings of another 6-10 season or worse. But Manning is savvy enough to make quick decisions to get the ball out of his hands and to his playmakers, like Odell Beckham or even Victor Cruz. He knows when to throw the ball away rather than take a sack - something he struggled with in the first half of his career. And sometimes he can make a play out of something that dissolves under pressure with a quick audible, adjustment or decision that no one outside will ever know occurred.
He can do things that a young quarterback can't, mostly because they haven't faced those situations yet. Players like Wentz and Prescott, and even Cousins to an extent, are at a disadvantage, even though young quarterbacks today are probably more prepared for the NFL than they've ever been before.
"Yeah, probably so," Manning said. "Colleges are doing more offensively. There's a lot more passing, a lot more concepts. It probably gives them a little bit of an advantage coming in."
And yet still, they will have so much to learn, which should give Manning a little bit of an advantage coming into the NFL season. For all the promise Wentz and Prescott may show, those teams would feel a lot better about their chances if they were playing with an established NFL quarterback. Veteran players rarely want to waste a season while a young quarterback learns on the job.
That's a reality the Giants are likely to have to ponder in the next few years - at the very least by the time his contract runs out after the 2019 season. For the moment, though, they can feel very secure that nobody in their mediocre division has a better option at quarterback than they do.
Now they just have to hope and pray that none of their other quarterbacks are forced to play this year.