New York Giants: Why Eli Manning is primed for an above-average 2019 season

New York Giants, Eli Manning

While training camp is never the ideal place to make an assumption, the New York Giants might be in better shape than previously thought. Yes, the wide receiver corps is dwindling to Cody Latimer and co., and the secondary is flush with youth and inexperience, but veteran quarterback Eli Manning looks as sharp as ever.

A majority of Tuesday’s practice focused on the bread and butter of head coach Pat Shurmur’s offense. A ton of screen passes and short throws from Manning. Play-action will be fit into the program as well, but utilizing the separation abilities of receivers like Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate will be the primary focus.

Besides, running back Saquon Barkley will be the focal point with the departure of Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason. However, Manning won’t be held to dump-offs and shallow crossing routes, which Evan Engram proved with a one-handed snag over the middle that resulted in a touchdown.

Manning, though, has looked very sharp this offseason after admitting he changed his workout program to fit the competition of Daniel Jones. The more experienced quarterback owned the red-zone drills, and it seems as if Manning’s competitiveness has once again re-entered the picture.

Eli Manning:

Overall stats: 12-of-15 passing with two touchdowns

11-on-11 red zone stats: 3-for-4 passing with two touchdowns

What will help the New York Giants offense the most?

While Manning has looked good, the offensive line will be the catalyst behind his success. Adding Kevin Zeitler at right guard and Mike Remmers at right tackle should provide more time in the pocket. Eli has been plagued with inadequate protection in recent years and has developed a few bad habits — happy feet, lack of awareness, too cautious.

More time will enable better reads on his progressions which will not only open up the field for the offense, but it will unveil the next level of Shurmur’s playbook.

Last season, Manning had one of his best years, thanks to Barkley and a bit of garbage time. A 66 completion percentage marked the highest in his 15-year career, and 92.4 passer rating was his best since 2015. This indicates he still has some gas left in the tank.

Barkley going into his second season and the offensive line improving should be enough to see Manning beat his 2018 numbers.