In order for the New York Giants to be successful, it’s going to take a team effort. But we’d all be kidding ourselves if we tried to say the play of Eli Manning will not have the greatest impact on whether or not the G-Men can return to the playoffs for the first time since winning the Super Bowl in 2011.
The Giants’ gunslinger had an unbelievably down year in 2013, during which he threw a franchise record 27 interceptions. While he cannot shoulder the entire blame for New York’s embarrassing dismal season—despite the miraculous 7-9 finish—he was one of the many culprits and will need to be a much better passer and leader if the Giants are going to survive another rough campaign in the always-competitive NFC East.
Fortunately, the Giants made some serious changes this offseason that should better Manning’s chances to have a bounce back season.
The additions of offensive linemen Geoff Schwartz, J.D. Walton and Weston Richburg should help to bolster Manning’s protection in the pocket, and new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense should put the quarterback and his talented offensive weapons (Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham and Rashad Jennings) in the best possible position to succeed.
Learning the new offense isn’t going to be a problem for Manning after a decade in the system Kevin Gilbride coordinated for the Giants previously. One head coach described Manning as “off-the-charts brilliant” and smarter than his brother. The fact that Manning has recovered from ankle surgery well enough to participate in OTAs is another bonus on the preparation front.
McAdoo will give them different concepts in the passing game — shorter passes to supplement the running game and more midrange routes to move the chains,” a personnel evaluator familiar with McAdoo predicted.
Manning’s quick recovery from offseason ankle surgery is an added bonus, as any hindrance to his preparation could have been a major hiccup to open the season. With a full offseason invested, practicing behind his new offensive line and getting in sync with his teammates of new and old, Manning is armed and ready for another big year in Big Blue with his eyes set on returning to the grandest stage of them all: the Super Bowl.
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