Perhaps now is the time to worry about the play of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
It has been a down year for Manning and in fact the entire Giants offense, a fact that is in some parts excusable let alone understandable. The Giants, after all, are going to miss star wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall for the rest of the year, something that surely will and has debilitated their ability to throw the ball.
There is also the play of the offensive line which was a major issue the first two weeks of the season. Hard to throw the ball or hit wide receivers in their routes when from one’s backside.
But Manning also isn’t helping matters. His numbers are on the decline yet again after a slight dip a year ago.
And the numbers suggest that the offensive line or the lack of playmakers isn’t entirely to blame.
According to Pro Football Focus, some of the burden for the poor passing game is squarely on Manning’s shoulders. This past Sunday in a 24-7 home loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Manning completed just 19-of-39 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown.
Ryan A. Smith from PFF writes that “Eli Manning completed just 13 of 29 passes for 62 yards when not blitzed. It wasn’t just Manning’s receivers not getting open when Seattle dropped seven in coverage. Manning ranked 29th in adjusted completion percentage this week (takes out drops, throwaways, hit as thrown, etc.) delivering catchable passes just 58.8 percent of the time.”
This means that the onus falls in part on Manning and not just the offensive line or the talent (perhaps more appropriately, the lack of talent) at the wide receiver position.
Smith also notes that Manning continues to release the ball quickly, presumably to avoid being hit behind an offensive line that is as effective as the Maginot Line.
According to Pro Football Focus, Manning is releasing the ball on average in 2.45 seconds when in the huddle, sixth fastest time in the league this year.
If the numbers hold as projected, this will be the fourth straight season where Manning’s passing yards and average yards per completion will both go down from the prior year.