clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Eli Manning can "take another jump," says Ben McAdoo

New, comments

Can a 35-year-old quarterback entering his 13th season actually get better?

Eli Manning
Eli Manning
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Can Eli Manning, at 35 and entering the 13th season of a two-time Super Bowl MVP career, really still get better? New York Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said on Wednesday that he believes Manning can do just that.

"Eli, I still think his best football is in front of him. I still think he's going to take another jump," McAdoo said during the NFL owners meetings. "He really bought into the system and likes the controls that he has there. The fundamental part of things was probably the toughest thing for him to get used to, but he's bought into the footwork and the training. Having another year under his belt with the reads is going to clean things up for him. He knows what he likes now, and it's natural for him. He's not thinking as much as he was the first year, and even toward the early part of the last year. It comes a little more naturally for him."

In McAdoo's two seasons as Giants offensive coordinator Manning had, arguably, the best back-to-back statistical seasons of his career.

  • He topped the 60 percent completion mark (63.1 percent and 62.6 percent) in back-to-back years for the first time since doing so four straight years from 2008-2011.
  • Manning's interception percent both seasons was 2.3. Only in 2008 (2.1 percent) did he perform better in that category.
  • He had touchdown percentages of 5.0 and 5.7, only the second time in his career he reached or surpassed the 5 percent mark in back-to-back years.
  • Manning's passer ratings of 92.1 and 93.6 marked the only time in his career he has been above 90.0 in that category in successive seasons.
  • Manning passed for 4,410 yards in 2014 and 4,436 in 2015. Only in 2011 (4,933) did he throw for more yards.

Manning admitted at the beginning of the 2015 season that 2014 had been difficult as he learned a new offense for the first time in his NFL career. During the spring and into training camp the zip with which he was throwing the ball was constantly noted by those watching. McAdoo said that continued right through the end of the season and credited Manning's worth ethic for that.

"Eli puts a lot of time and effort into making sure he's prepared and ready to go. He did some things last year that changed up his upper body routine, the way he trained his upper body, the way he warmed up his upper body, and the way he cooled it down. It made an impact, it was noticeable. I think that he finished last year stronger than he did at any point in time in '14. That was encouraging. I'm sure he's out there right now working to get better."

Manning has, of course, been an iron man throughout his career, starting 183 straight regular-season games. That streak will end someday, but for McAdoo to be right and for Manning to lead the Giants back to respectability.

"Let's knock on wood on that one. He is a durable guy. He's a tough guy. He doesn't get a lot of credit for that, and that factors in that as well. He plays through a lot. We need to do a good job of keeping him upright. To be able to push the ball down the field a little more, it takes a little longer to do that, so we would like to do that, so we need to keep him upright. We are throwing the ball down the field because we have some guys who can make plays down the field for us," McAdoo said. "He's a tough, gritty guy that he probably doesn't get enough credit for."