With the New York Giants reporting to camp in less than a month, BigBlueInteractive.com is breaking down each of the team’s positional groups from now until July 21. First, let’s kick things off with the quarterbacks.
POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Quarterbacks
2013 YEAR IN REVIEW: Yuck. Eli Manning suffered through arguably the worst season of his career leading experts to question if the once-elite Eli was on decline. Manning endured career-highs in sacks (39) and interceptions (27). His yards-per-game were the fewest since 2008 and completion percentage since 2007. Behind him, Ryan Nassib never played a down and Curtis Painter left very little to be desired, finishing 8-of-16 for 57 yards and two interceptions.
ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Not much has changed from a year ago. At one point, the Giants had Josh Freeman (MIN) and Rusty Smith (TEN), but both were cut during the offseason conditioning program. The team ended last year with Manning-Painter-Nassib on the depth chart and enter training camp with the same three names.
TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: There’s a ton. Can Manning return to form? Can Nassib be the No. 2? Is Painter a viable option if Nassib can’t? Also, how does new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense fit the skill set of each. Training camp and preaseason should answer quite a bit of questions surrounding the quarterbacks.
ON THE BUBBLE: Manning is the starter, obviously, but whomever wins the No. 2 quarterback position may signal the end of QB No. 3. The only foreseeable situation where the Giants keep all three would be that Nassib struggles mightily, the team isn’t willing to cut him yet, so it’s a near identical depth chart as last year. The more likely scenario? The Giants show faith in Nassib and cut Painter.
FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Danny Langsdorf on monitoring QB reps: “It was hard to rep five guys for sure. Three is a good number. You’d like to be able to develop that fourth if you have enough spots. Without the extra spot, having three gets some pretty good work and you know what everybody gets. The starter and the backup get the majority of the snaps, but the third guy gets a few reps here and there.”
Connor Hughes – I think a new offense is exactly what Eli Manning needed at this point in his career. It wasn’t that Kevin Gilbride was a bad offensive coordinator or his offense terrible (They did win two Super Bowl’s during his tenure), he just needed a breath of fresh air. I think Eli could be in for a big 2014, he certainly showed flashes during OTAs/mini-camp of excelling in the new offense. As far as Nassib? I’m far less certain.
Eric Kennedy – A misleading narrative (some would say false bill of goods) is being told by some that all Eli Manning needed this offseason was a new offensive coordinator with some new- fangled scheme based on West Coast Offense principles. Ironically, 10 years ago fans were ready to dump Jim Fassel’s West Coast system in favor of Tom Coughlin’s vertical attack. What Eli really needs it better running backs, better receivers, better tight ends, and most importantly, better blockers than he had in 2013. He also needs to get his head out of his ass and stop making stupid decisions that a 10-year veteran of his caliber (two-time Super Bowl MVP) should not be making. There will be a learning curve with the new offensive system, including terminology that almost all of the offensive players has mentioned as being an issue. Combine that with three new offensive coaches, two coaches switching positions, and dramatic offensive personnel changes, it will be a shock if the Giants offense looks like a well-oiled machine in September and October. Expect growing pains and increasing calls for Eli’s head early. Eli was weened on a vertical passing attack. It will be interesting to see if he can develop the ability to be a much better short-range thrower, particularly to the running backs and tight ends.
FINAL DEPTH CHART: Manning (1), Nassib (2), Painter (Cut/3)