Debate: Eli Manning Regressing Due To New QB Coach?


With the rearing of more interceptions from Eli Manning this past Monday night… after the focus of the NY Giants this offseason has been to cut down on turnovers… people are starting to get nervous about the Giants franchise QB having another off year.

Yes, it’s preseason. But here’s the debate to be had – the suggestion has been made that switching QB coaches from Chris Palmer to Mike Sullivan has somehow caused a regression in Eli’s abilities. Off the cuff, it sort of makes sense. I’ve wondered myself what mantras have changed in the coaching transition from Palmer to Sullivan, and although it is Eli Manning’s 8th season this is the sort of blame assignment that fits right in here in NY. But evidance to the contrary is worth noting before we jump to any conclusions.

Our own Sean Kerr wrote something in December of 2010 that is starting to creep back in to the conversation, and rightly so.

Now 30 years old and heading into his 8th season, Manning has become one of the franchise’s top leaders. Although #10 has been to and won a Super Bowl, has 5+ years of experience under his belt and is considered one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks it seems that Eli Manning has not yet reached his full potential. That is good news for Giants fans and potentially bad news for Quarterbacks Coach Mike Sullivan. Sullivan, who spent the previous six years coaching the wide receivers, made the transition to QB coach this season, after Chris Palmer retired. Palmer coached Manning to the Super Bowl in 2007. It is worth pointing out here that Eli was tied for 1st with the most interceptions thrown in that season.

So Sean basically nailed it — even when Palmer’s voodoo was in Eli’s ear in 2007 he led the league in INTs. So what gives? Is there a debate here to be had?

Probably not.

But let me set this debate up anyway. During that 2007 run the Giants obviously focused on ball protection from the top down. They executed beautifully with the only turnover from Manning coming in the Superbowl via a hot ball off Steve Smith’s hands in the red zone after a tremendous drive from the offense down to the Patriots 5 yard line. Look – the only reason they were playing in that game to begin with is because the Giants minimized their mistakes when it mattered most.

So in all likelihood, the point driving this whole debate is that Palmer’s mantra at that exact time HAD TO BE:

PROTECT THE FOOTBALL, MAKE GOOD DECISIONS, GET RID OF IT IF THERE’S NOTHING.
PROTECT THE FOOTBALL, MAKE GOOD DECISIONS, GET RID OF IT IF THERE’S NOTHING.
PROTECT THE FOOTBALL, MAKE GOOD DECISIONS, GET RID OF IT IF THERE’S NOTHING.

Now, over the past 2 seasons however under new coaching, Manning and his offense have looked nothing like the glory days of 2007 and 2008. The offense has gotten more complex, the receivers have changed, Eli is throwing more passes for more yards and more TD’s. And he now has a receivers coach in his ear instead of Palmer’s mantra that obviously works because it won the Giants a championship. So what is it that Sullivan is saying or not saying that is causing the problem with Eli Manning? Whatever it is, it’s likely not whatever Chris Palmer was saying.

So that’s the debate as I imagine it to be. There may be something to it, but because Manning is dealing with a different offense that’s trying to do different things, and so many of those INTs came off tipped passes last year – it’s not that cut and dry for me. I think it’s intriguing, but certainly not a smoking gun scenario.

But what do you think?

Why Do You Think Eli Manning Is Regressing?

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  • shawzer

    What about losing his slot receiver and TE? Who is he supposed to check down to this year?

  • gmenhq

    the running backs. seems to be working a lot better in that regard and finally utilizing screen passes. they still have slot receivers and TEs on the team though.