Manning, who is entering his 16th NFL season, will be the NFL’s sixth-least efficient passer. Below No. 10 on the list are the declining Joe Flacco, second-year signal callers Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, and Lamar Jackson with rookie Dwayne Haskins rounding out the bottom five.
These ratings are based on a stat called net expected points (NEP). NEP calculates how many points an average team are expected to score in a particular situation (given down, distance-to-go, and yard line).
Manning’s NEP is 0.03, significantly below the league average of 0.14. In contrast, the top four quarterbacks in NEP are Drew Brees (0.37), Phillip Rivers (0.29), Jared Goff (0.29), and Patrick Mahomes (0.27).
NEP is not an accurate assessment of a quarterback’s ability. It is questionable in the least that Haskins, who has never thrown an NFL pass, is on the list in the first place.
Manning is coming off one of the best statistical seasons of his career. He had 380 completions (second-highest of his career) in 576 attempts, completing 66 percent of his passes (highest of his career). Manning threw for 4,299 yards (fourth-highest of his career), 21 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions (second-lowest of his career in a season when he started all 16 games). Manning’s quarterback rating of 92.4 was the fourth-highest of his career.
Unfortunately, the Giants began 2018 with a 1-7 record before their bye. They played better in the second half of the season, going 4-4 but the damage was done. The Giants missed the playoffs for the sixth time in the seven seasons since winning Super Bowl XLVI. At the same time, eight of their 11 losses were by seven or fewer points.
Manning has had four different offensive coordinators since winning Super Bowl XLVI. In addition, his confidence in his offensive line keeping him upright long enough to make plays is perhaps at an all-time low. He was sacked 47 times in 2018, sixth in the NFL. Manning has either had to dump the ball off, spike it, hand it off, or simply give up on the play to avoid the sack or quarterback hit.
This offseason, it appears rumors of the demise of the 38-year-old Manning are exaggerated. He is in the best shape of his career and any talk of a drop-off in arm strength has been summarily dismissed. In addition, he has never missed a game in his NFL career due to injury despite the pounding he takes year after year.
He should perform better with an improved offensive line. He also has rookie Daniel Jones, the team’s first-round (sixth overall) pick to light a fire underneath him for added inspiration. Jones could replace Manning just as he replaced Kurt Warner in his rookie season. Even if Manning performs well, Jones could still be used situationally.
“The players that give our team the best chance to win, play. Period,” head coach Pat Shurmur said. “And you have seen Eli do that for a very long time, so we will see what happens as we go down the road.”