Nothing and no one can take away the things Eli Manning has achieved and won throughout his NFL career. However, if the New York Giants actually think they can turn him into an extremely accurate quarterback, then it’s quite the delusional setup and aspiration they have set for themselves heading into the 2014 NFL season.
Despite Manning’s career numbers when it comes to completion percentage, new quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf is setting the bar quite high; for Manning to complete 70% of his passes next season. The New York Giants changed offensive coordinators, an offensive system and approach during the offseason. After hitting something of rock bottom last year and missing out on the playoffs for two years in a row, they felt a change had to come.
It hasn’t been done very often, so that’s the ultimate goal. I think it’s been done eight or nine times, maybe? That’s an impressive statistic in the history of the league. So that’s what we’re gunning for, that 70 percent. He’s well aware of who’s done it in the past and what the system can get you in terms of completion. So we’re trying to focus on that and really trying to do a good job of taking care of the ball and hitting open receivers.
Only seven times has a quarterback made it past 70% in a season. Steve Young, Joe Montana, Drew Brees. Those are some of the names that have accomplished it, but so has Alex Smith, Sammy Baugh (through only eight games) and Ken Anderson. It’s difficult, and maybe even an incredible achievement, but not impossible, even for those who aren’t legends at their position and trait.
But will all of the optimism that the Giants are going to look completely different next season and be much better, a look at Manning’s career gives us an indication of just how difficult it’s going to be to even get him close to that number. It’s not just up to him. The Giants’ offensive line was crushed last season. It’s improved heading into this one, but by how much? By enough?
Manning has a career completion percentage of 58.5% through his 10 NFL season. He has completed more than 60% of his passes four times (2008-2011), but he hasn’t gotten past the 59.9% mark over the last two seasons, including 57.5% in 2013, as he threw a career high 27 interceptions and for the first time finished with a negative TD-INT ratio since he became the sole starting quarterback of the Giants.