There’s a simple truth when it comes to New York Giants veteran quarterback Eli Manning — he can only be so successful. Why? Because in the modern day NFL having mobility is a necessity.
Unless you’re Tom Brady and have the league figured out to a “T” – running a scheme that seems to always be effective, it’s difficult to succeed without running ability. Even Drew Brees ran for an impressive spin-move touchdown in 2018. The reality for Eli is, he needs his offensive line to perform at a high level to operate the offense successfully.
He might just get his dying wish in the season ahead. So the answer to the question stated – can Eli Manning improve during the 2019 season? Is a resounding “yes!”
Here’s where we break down how he will and what needs to happen for him to really improve upon his struggles in recent seasons.
From a statistical standpoint, Manning had one of his most efficient seasons last year, thanks to the influence of rookie sensation Saquon Barkley. A career-high 66.0 completion rate, a career-low in interceptions with 11, and his best QB rating (92.4) since 2015, Manning showed he can still play at the level needed to win games in the NFL.
New York Giants: The defense hurt Eli Manning more than anything
If it wasn’t for a faltering defense, the Giants might have had a far better record. They lost several games by one possession, killing their momentum and hurting the probability of a playoff berth with every loss. However, GM Date Gettleman has injected resources into the improvement of the offense line, defensive line, and secondary with plenty of talented youth.
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That fact alone should give Manning the confidence to finally succeed and reach the post-season once more. This could be his final season to do so, but he has all the weapons and defensive support to keep possession of the ball and make the most of his 15th campaign as a professional.
The question is — can he break the bad habits of missing progressions due to incoming pressure? Hopefully, the newly build offensive front will give him his confidence back.
My primary concern, though, is his touchdown totals, throwing only 40 over the past two seasons. His scoring production simply isn’t enough to reach the post-season in the modern-day NFL, and those numbers will have to increase if he wishes to succeed in 2019. A nice chunk of his statistical output last season came in garbage-time or at the hands of Barkley and his efficiency on screen plays.
Manning will need to use his receivers in a more effective manner and hold onto the ball for longer to allow routes to develop. Head coach Pat Shurmur had to ax a fair portion of his playbook due to a lack of time in the pocket. Minimizing his turnover rate through good offensive line play should be the key to success, but Manning is facing mental issues that will require him to keep his eyes downfield after years of subsequent punishment.