Eli Manning and the New York Giants look to avoid missing the playoffs for the third straight season
SportsCenter is at Giants training camp Tuesday. Here are the top things to know leading up to the 2014 season.
1. The New York Giants rebounded from an 0-6 start to go 7-3 over their final 10 games last season, tied for the fourth best record in the NFL over that span. But a 7-9 record wasn’t good enough to reach the postseason, meaning that the Giants have now missed the playoffs in two straight and four of the last five seasons. The Giants haven’t missed the playoffs in 3 straight seasons since 1994-96.
2. Eli Manning threw a career-high and an NFL-high 27 interceptions in 2013, his third time leading the league in interceptions. It was the most interceptions thrown by any player in a season since Brett Favre in 2005 and also the most interceptions thrown by a QB in Giants history, breaking Charlie Conerly’s record from 1953. Manning’s 37 Total QBR last season (0-100 scale) ranked 33rd among 39 qualified quarterbacks.
Manning's numbers took a significant hit on his deep throws, as the image below notes.
3. Manning was sacked a career-high 39 times last season, more than doubling Manning’s sack total from 2012 (19). Manning was sacked on 6.5 percent of his dropbacks last year after being sacked on just 3.6 percent of his dropbacks from 2010-12 (second lowest in the NFL behind his brother Peyton Manning). No Giants offensive line combination played more than 40 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 2013. The hits took a toll on Eli, who is coming off offseason ankle surgery. He could have as many as four new starters on the offensive line this year.
4. The offensive line’s struggles also carried over to the rushing game. Only the Baltimore Ravens (3.1) and Jacksonville Jaguars (3.3) averaged fewer yards per rush than the Giants last season (3.5). The Giants gained only 1,332 rushing yards in 2013. During the first nine seasons of Tom Coughlin’s tenure with the Giants, the team averaged 2,029 rushing yards a season, sixth best in the NFL. The team’s leading rusher in 2013, Andre Brown, signed with the Houston Texans this offseason.
5. Eli Manning also didn’t receive much help from his receivers. Hakeem Nicks, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason, posted no touchdowns despite 896 receiving yards, the second most receiving yards without a touchdown in NFL history. Victor Cruz, tied for third in the NFL with 18 30-yard receptions from 2011-12, recorded just four 30-yard receptions last season. Manning was intercepted on 10 percent of his passes to Rueben Randle, the highest interception percentage to any one receiver in the NFL last season (min. 50 attempts). To help at wideout, the Giants drafted Odell Beckham Jr. 12th overall, the second highest draft pick they have ever used on a wide receiver (Ike Hilliard – 7th in 1997).
6. For the first time since 2006, the Giants will open training camp without Kevin Gilbride at offensive coordinator. Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo was hired to replace Gilbride and is installing a new offense. The Giants ranked 28th in both points and yards last season, the first time they’ve finished outside the top 25 in both categories since 1996.
7. The Giants’ once vaunted four-man pass rush produced just 18 sacks last season, tied for 26th in the NFL. When the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2011, they had 34 sacks with four or fewer rushers, second most in the NFL. Justin Tuck, whose 11 sacks were five more than anyone else on the Giants team last season, signed with the Oakland Raiders in free agency. The team is counting on Jason Pierre-Paul, who had 16.5 sacks in 2011, to return to form after an injury-plagued 2013.
8. The best competition in camp could be at the cornerback spot, where the Giants signed two coveted free agents this offseason. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed a five-year deal with $14M in guaranteed money and Walter Thurmond signed a one-year deal that includes $2M guaranteed. The duo, who faced each other in Super Bowl 48, will compete with former first-round pick Prince Amukamara for a starting job.
9. Head coach Tom Coughlin signed a 1-year contract extension in February, tying him to the team through the 2015 season. Coughlin, who will turn 68 on August 31st, is the NFL’s oldest active head coach. He’s been with the team since 2004, making him the third-longest tenured head coach behind Bill Belichick (with the Patriots since 2000) and Marvin Lewis (with the Bengals since 2003).
10. Giants Top Transactions This Offseason