Although the New York Giants finished another disappointing season with a record of 6-10, quarterback Eli Manning quietly had one of his best performances in his 11 season career. It is easy to look at this Giants team and point out all the negatives, but there were a few positives like the emergence of Odell Beckham, as well as solid play from rookie linebacker Devon Kennard. But Manning’s numbers this season are way too great to overlook.
Remember when many doubted that Manning at 33 years of age who spent 10 seasons with the same offensive coordinator, would grasp a completely new offense with different weapons around him? Many said that even if Manning did master the new West Coast scheme being installed by new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, it would take at least a full season or more to learn.
Dec 21, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws against the St. Louis Rams during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Many also doubted Manning would excel behind a poor offensive line that played a significant factor in Manning throwing a career high 27 interceptions last year with only 18 touchdowns and 3,818 passing yards with a 57.5 completion percentage to go with it.
Those doubts were amplified when Beckham was sidelined from training camp to Week 5 of this season with a hamstring injury and his top receiver in Victor Cruz was lost in Week 6 for the rest of the season with a torn patella tendon.
But despite all the scrutiny and doubt from fans and the media, Manning does what has made him a leader and a winner and that is overcome the immense pressure he was under after a down year last season.
He silenced everyone who falsely predicted that Manning’s best days were behind him when he underwent ankle surgery last offseason. Manning finished this season with 4,410 yards passing, 30 touchdowns, only 14 interceptions (five of which came from one game versus the San Francisco 49ers) and a 63.1 completion percentage.
Manning was able to adjust quickly to new weapons around him like tight end Larry Donnell, wide receiver Preston Parker, and even Beckham when he finally made his debut. Manning was able to turn Donnell and Parker into viable weapons and the amazing talent of Beckham gave Manning a security blanket due to being a big time play making receiver. Manning has always been one of the most intelligent quarterbacks in the league and spends a lot of his time in the film room as well as the practice field.
Dec 21, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning warms up before the game between the St. Louis Rams and the New York Giants at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
That work ethic has allowed him to do what many felt he could not and that was master this new offense in less than a season. His work ethic also rubs off on his teammates which enables them to work harder and it’s why Manning is a true leader on and off the field.
Manning has looked much more comfortable in this new offense and it’s easy to see his on field confidence has soared.
He hesitates less in the pocket, he goes through his progressions with ease and unleashes precision passes all across the field. His deep passes look much better than last year which confirms the Manning still has plenty of gas in the tank.
Manning is excellent at breaking down opposing defenses and always puts his team in the best position to make plays. Yes Manning will make a rare error that will have some scratching their heads, but those plays only show that Manning is human. Manning is still an elite passer who excels in the biggest spots when his team needs him the most and he showed that time and time again this season.
At the end of the day a humble Manning will tell you that his stats don’t matter and that he as well as the rest of the team need to improve because anything less than a championship is unacceptable, and he is partially right. He is right about the team’s performance and how they all collectively must improve, but his stats do indeed matter.
They matter because they are honest proof at the level of hard work and perseverance Manning has accomplished this year. They silence his critics and show why he is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL with many great years ahead of him.
So although the Giants’ season was not a success, Manning was able to have a career year despite all the obstacles in front of him. Now fans can look forward to a season with Beckham and Cruz together and a hopefully more stable offensive line. If Manning was able to have such a great year without those intangibles, we can all imagine how much better he will be in 2015 with them.
More from GMEN HQ
- Giants News: Jon Feliciano headed to the 49ers, Joe Schoen signs CB to new deal
- Giants News: Darius Slayton won’t put up with Daniel Jones ‘slander’ moving forward
- NFL Rumors: Odell Beckham Jr. calls out teams even thinking about low-ball offer
- 4 LBs the NY Giants should target in the draft after signing Bobby Okereke
- New Daniel Jones workout clip has arrived and he looks fantastic