NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Eli Manning has never been the most statistically accurate quarterback, but it appears the Giants are going to try to put him in a position to be.
In the midst of installing a new offense and eager to help Manning bounce back from a brutal 2013 season, Big Blue has a plan in place to kill both of those birds with one stone.
Introducing, Eli the Efficient?
The Giants are shooting for their veteran quarterback to complete 70 percent of his throws in 2014.
“It hasn’t been done very often, so that’s the ultimate goal,” new quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf said before practice Monday. “I think it’s been done eight or nine times, maybe? That’s an impressive statistic in the history of the league. So that’s what we’re gunning for, that 70 percent.”
Manning endured arguably the worst season of his career last season, completing just 57.5 percent of his passes, his lowest percentage since completing just 56.1 percent in 2007.
But in the version of the West Coast offense the Giants are installing under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, Langsdorf said there will be opportunities for Manning to move the football easily and eventually challenge for a spot among a group of QBs who have completed more than 70 percent in a season — Drew Brees (71.2 in 2011 and 70.6 percent in 2009), Ken Anderson (70.6, 1982), Sammy Baugh (70.3, 1945), Steve Young (70.3, 1994), Joe Montana (70.2, 1989) and Alex Smith (70.2, 2012).
“(Manning is) well aware of who’s done it in the past and what the system can get you in terms of completion,” Langsdorf said. “So we’re trying to focus on that and really trying to do a good job of taking care of the ball and hitting open receivers.”
Under previous coordinator Kevin Gilbride, the Giants had more of a vertical passing game. In recent years it was routine for Manning to find Victor Cruz or Hakeem Nicks deep, but that changed last season when a battered offensive line and backfield left the Giants predictable on offense and, as a result, Manning threw a career-high 27 interceptions as Big Blue finished 7-9. Langsdorf suggested that Manning’s margin for error will be greater in the new offense.
“I think we’ve added some more completion throws, some quick gains,” Langsdorf said.
For his part, Manning said he’s encouraged by what he’s seen over the first few days of training camp.
“I think guys are just starting to understand the tempo of the offense, the timing of the routes, the kinds of plays we can get into, and I think it’s coming faster for the quarterbacks also,” Manning said. “We’ve got to keep working, and I think we’re getting more of the install in, but there are still more plays, more concepts to be put in, so we’ve still got some ways to go.”
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