For Eli Manning, starting off the season strong will be at the forefront of his priorities, and it all starts with building chemistry with his offense.
The New York Giants added several weapons to the offense, including left tackle Nate Solder and left guard Patrick Omameh. Rebuilding the offensive line has been an unfinished puzzle for the past few years. Fitting the pieces together was not the strength of former general manager Jerry Reese, and it’s not for his lack of trying (Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Ereck Flowers, John Jerry, etc.).
Reese struggled to put together a formidable line for his franchise quarterback, and the consequences were apparent. Last year’s disastrous campaign started and ended on the offensive line.
The Giants began their season on Monday; Eli Manning was in attendance to voluntary OTA’s. The only player that was absent was former left tackle and current right tackle, Ereck Flowers.
GM Dave Gettleman will likely address the offensive line in the upcoming NFL draft, which will only aid the success of Manning and Co.
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The offensive scheme plays a large part in the statistical achievements for any quarterback, and Eli Manning is no different. With Odell Beckham Jr. playing an integral part in the offense, Manning enjoyed inflated numbers due to his electrifying skill set.
In 2017: 61.6% completion, 3,468 passing yards, 19-13 TD-INT ratio, 31 sacks and 11 fumbles.
In 2016: 63% completion, 4,027 passing yards, 26-16 TD-INT ratio, 21 sacks and 7 fumbles.
In 2011: 61% completion, 4,933 passing yards, 29-16 TD-INT ratio, 28 sacks, 8 fumbles
These three years represent good examples for the difference in offensive line quality and systematic approaches.
In 2017, the line was awful, resulting in one of Manning’s worst statistical seasons. The only season he was sacked more times was in 2013 (39 sacks). His 11 fumbles was the most in the past eight years as the Giants’ quarterback.
The 2016 season was interesting, because it was Ben McAdoo’s most successful year with the Giants. Manning improved his completion percentage to 63%. The scheme he implemented was heavy on short passes and crossing routes, similar to the 2017 season but more daring. McAdoo became complacent after becoming the head coach for the Giants and ultimately dug his own grave with his conservative play calling.
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When comparing these two years to 2011, the year the Giants won the Super Bowl, you’ll see that Manning had his most explosive year, netting nearly 5,000 yards for the only time in his career. But why was he so successful?
The offensive line consisted of Will Beatty, David Diehl, David Baas, Chris Snee, and Kareem McKenzie. A solid front four, which gave Manning ample time to set up his passes.
But the main factors that contributed to Manning being successful was also the same reason that the Giants won the Super Bowl. Those factors represented balance and unpredictability.
They had a tight end (Jake Ballard), running backs (Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs), wide receivers (Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, Victor Cruz), and a quality offensive line. Provide Manning with the necessary tools and success is on the horizon.
The Giants have lacked a true running game, tight end, offensive line, and base of receivers for years, and they have lacked success all the while. I wonder why…
Well, now that Eli Manning has a serviceable offensive line, a tight end in Evan Engram, receivers in Odell Beckham Jr, Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall, and a head coach that has a history with successful quarterbacks, we can anticipate an instantaneous improvement.
The factors and pieces are in place to put together a winning team, and with the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, the Giants have the ability to add an immediate play-maker to the team. With this logic, Saquon Barkley would be the prioritized selection for New York, but the question is: Are they playing to win now, or planning for the future?
Eli Manning 2018 predictions:
62.5% completion, 4,759 yards, 28-14 TD-INT ratio, 22 sacks, 6 fumbles