Quarterbacks are coming into the NFL better-prepared and having earlier success than ever before. New York Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning, a 13-year veteran and two-time Super Bowl MVP, thinks he knows why.
"They're way ahead of where I was coming out of college. I think it starts as a young age. In high school we threw the ball 12 or 14 times a game. Now these kids are throwing 30, 40 times a game, they're having 7-on-7 camps all summer,” Manning said. “They're throwing the football. Their offenses are more advanced in high school. They're used to being in the shotgun, they're used to throwing it a bunch.
"They're seeing schemes earlier and concepts they're getting introduced to in high school that carry over to college that carry over to the NFL. They've just had more practice, more reps. They're prepared to come in early and play, and play well.”
Manning’s remarks came last Friday, before Super Bowl LI and before he was named co-Walter Payton Man of the Year. Much of the interview is about those two things, but his discussion of quarterback play begins around the 4:40 mark.
Manning discussing young quarterbacks is interesting, of course, because there is much talk about the Giants acknowledging the need to start looking for his successor as he is now 36.
Manning said there is no tried-and-true formula for evaluating whether or not a quarterback has what it takes.
"It's tough. It's a matter of getting a system that fits the quarterback and vice versa. You don't know how quickly quarterbacks will learn about defenses, about changing plays, about picking up the offense,” he said. “There's not a proven, he's gotta be this size or this height or run this fast, or arm strength. It's these little intangibles. It's how accurate they are, can they adjust to pressure, can they see things clearly. Also what kind of players you're putting around them to have success."
Perhaps as early as this spring Manning will have the opportunity to begin tutoring a young protege who could one day succeed him.