Tuck: Eli will be 'elite' again in 2014

Justin Tuck | New York Giants

New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck is banking on a bounce-back season for Eli Manning in 2014.

To say that quarterback is having a rough season is quite the understatement. His completion percentage of 58.6 is the lowest it's been since 2007 and the 25 interceptions he's thrown match a career high. Under Manning's leadership, the Giants lost their first six games of the 2013 season and will finish below .500 for the first time since 2004.

For a lot of teams, a performance like that would raise questions about who the quarterback should be next season. The Giants, however, remain confident in Manning's skills. A down season is easier to forgive when you consider the two Super Bowl MVP awards that Manning has won as New York's quarterback.

"I don't believe that you're going to see Eli play like this too much longer," said defensive end and team co-captain.

"Everyone knows the type of quarterback he is," stated Tuck. "We go as he goes. He's had a down year this year but I still have the utmost confidence in the fact that next year he's going to come back and be the elite quarterback that he's always been."

Whether or not Manning has always been an "elite" quarterback depends on your definition of the word, but either way, it would be surprising if Manning didn't improve his performance in 2014. The veteran has a history of bouncing back after bad seasons.

After he threw 25 interceptions in 2010, Manning rebounded to throw just 16 in 2011 and added a career-high 4,933 passing yards. In the playoffs that season, he threw nine touchdowns and just one interception en route to a Super Bowl win.

Manning won his first Super Bowl in 2007 despite a pretty awful regular season. He completed just 56 percent of his passes and tossed 20 interceptions. The next season, he cut his interceptions in half and posted a 60-percent completion rate for the first time in his NFL career.

Nowadays, Manning's age is starting to play against him instead of for him, but if the 32-year-old grows old as gracefully as his brother Peyton, the Giants can look forward to competing for the playoffs again in 2014.

"You can't keep a good guy down that long," said Tuck. "He's the first guy in here and he's probably going to be the last guy to leave. He's not going to allow what people are saying to him to dictate what he needs to go out there and do, he's going to continue to fight and try to improve how he's playing and I think we all take a lead from it."

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