The New York Giants considered themselves lucky to have quarterback Eli Manning available for Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and mini-camp after he underwent an offseason ankle surgery. But despite his surprisingly early return, the team wasted no time in trying to fix some of the issues that troubled him in 2013.
In addition to trying to learn and implement an entirely new offense, Manning was also subject to a variety of fundamental alterations, including a specific adjustment to his footwork.
"We’ve spent a lot of time fundamentally throughout the spring, both footwork and everything from ball fakes, ball handling to throwing accurately to dropping back," quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf said. "There’s a little bit different of footwork that we’re using, some of the routes that he’s used to, and we’re timing it up with the receivers so there’s a little bit of fundamental work but he’s a veteran guy and a pro that’s had success for a long time so we’re not doing anything, drastic changes, but just trying to fine tune and tweak a few things."
Although Langsdorf failed to provide specific details, the footwork adjustment(s) are likely a direct result of the speed of the new offense and the lack of option routes the wide receivers have to choose from. After all, despite Manning's poor cumulative numbers in 2013, one area in which he did excel was when releasing the ball in under two seconds. In such occasions, Manning rated out at a +2.6, whereas he rated out at a -8.6 between 2.1 and 2.5 seconds.
Perhaps more than just footwork, what the Giants really need to do is find Manning some protection up front and a running game. Not only did the two-time Super Bowl MVP face pressure on 37.6% of all non-blitz situations (well above league average), the Giants used play-action only 15.8% of the time (well below league average) due to a poor running game.
While a footwork adjustment may help a little, the team has a lot of other areas they need to shore up in order to avoid a 2013 repeat.
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