New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said his offense, particularly quarterback Eli Manning, must do a better job of controlling turnovers if they are going to succeed in 2017.
“We all know turning the ball over 27 times isn’t acceptable,” McAdoo said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “We’re fortunate to have the wins we had turning the ball over the way we turned the ball over. We can’t turn the ball over that way.”
McAdoo also challenged his quarterback, who threw 16 interceptions and lost four fumbles in 2016.
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“I think Eli needs to do a better job playing with fast feet and I think he needs to sit on that back foot in the pocket,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of man coverage, so the receivers, it’s gonna take a little time for them to get open, so everything may not be rhythmical. So, he’s got to play with fast feet, he’s got to sit on his back foot and be ready to hitch into a throw.”
McAdoo was quick to point out he wasn’t criticizing Manning, who threw 26 touchdowns, had his third consecutive 4,000-yard season, and completed 63 percent of his passes at the age of 35.
However, Manning has thrown at least 14 interceptions every season since 2008. His reluctance to take a sack is common knowledge and he will sometimes chuck the ball up there for the defense to grab. His offensive line (or his lack of confidence in his offensive line) contributed to this, Despite that, Manning needs to take better care of the football.
In 2016, the Giants were 6-1 when Manning threw no interceptions and 8-2 when he had one or less. On the other hand, the Giants were 3-3 when he threw two or more.
In spite of the offensive issues, the Giants had an impressive 2016 season.
They improved from six wins in 2014 and 2015 to 11, tied for the second highest win total in the NFC. The defense improved from all-time bad in 2015 to one of the NFL’s best. The defensive improvement was highlighted by their No. 2 ranking in points allowed, second to only the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
Throw in their first playoff berth in five years, six players named All-Pro, and the fact this was all accomplished with a rookie head coach, the Giants’ 2016 season should go down as one of the greatest non-championship seasons in franchise history.
Unfortunately, the Giants shot themselves in the foot with costly turnovers. Their highest margin of victory was 14 against the Cleveland Browns. If they hadn’t turned the ball over and kept their opponents in games, more blowouts could’ve taken place.
Manning doesn’t need to play at an elite level for the Giants to improve on their 2016 season. The same goes for their offensive line. They simply need to do a better job holding on the ball and that begins with the quarterback.