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70 the new passing grade for Giants' Eli Manning

Giants quarterback Eli Manning drops back to pass

Giants quarterback Eli Manning drops back to pass during training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, NJ on Sunday, July 27, 2014. Credit: Brad Penner

Eli Manning has been a lot of things for the Giants during his career.

He's a two-time Super Bowl MVP.

He's the franchise's all-time leader in touchdown passes, completions and passing yards.

He has the second-most wins by any quarterback in the 90-year history of the organization.

One thing he's never been known as is an exceptionally accurate passer.

He can thread the ball where it needs to be -- see his sideline pass to Mario Manningham in Super Bowl XLVI -- but even in his best seasons his completion percentage has never spiked much higher than 60 percent. His career rate is 58.48.

That's about to change.

The Giants have set an ostentatious goal of completing 70 percent of Manning's passes in 2014, according to quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf. Manning has completed 70 percent of his passes or higher in just 15 of his 153 regular-season games through his first 10 seasons. Now they want him to average it over one 16-game season.

It may seem like a case of simply setting lofty objectives and hoping to come as close as possible to them. Ideally, the Giants' goal is to complete 100 percent of their passes and win all of their games, after all. But Langsdorf said he firmly believes that the combination of Manning and the new West Coast offensive system can break the 70 percent barrier. "Yeah," he said. "Absolutely."

One of the reasons Manning's percentage always has been modest at best was the Kevin Gilbride-coached system he played in throughout his first 10 years. That relied on taking chances down the field.

New coordinator Ben McAdoo brings more of a possession style to the offense. Quick, short passes have been the theme of the first week of training camp and that's expected to remain on the call sheet when the season starts.

"That's what we're working toward, finding completions and getting the ball out in a timely fashion," Manning said. "We're hoping to get into that high 60s and maybe into that 70 percent. That's kind of a goal that we set for the beginning of the year."

"I think that number [70] has always been used by this offense as a standard, not that it's been accomplished that many times in history but it's a goal just like any other goal," coach Tom Coughlin said. "If someone is to achieve that percentage, it'd be a pretty good offense."

That's not to say the Giants are going to turn Manning into a game manager, as such quarterbacks are often derogatorily called.

"If you have some more completion throws in the offense, maybe some more quick game, you can get some of that," Langsdorf said. "But we also want to be able to push the ball down the field and get some big chunks rather than just dinking and dunking all day."

Just how new is this concept for the Giants?

Manning's career-high 62.89 completion percentage in 2010 is actually the franchise record and although he never has been near the top of league leaders in the category, his career 58.48 percentage is second in team history behind only Kerry Collins (Manning had the all-time lead before last year's falloff).

To get him to 70 percent in 2014, the Giants will have to see Manning's completion rate jump 12.52 points from last year. If he makes it, he'll join a very short list of quarterbacks who have done so.

Drew Brees, Ken Anderson, Joe Montana and Steve Young are the only modern-day players to have met the benchmark (with a minimum of 14 pass attempts per game). Brees has done it twice, including the NFL-record 71.2 in 2011.

"We've talked about what we're looking for and we're trying to shoot for that 70 percent," Langsdorf said. "We haven't spoken much about the history of it, but he's well aware of who's done it in the past and what the system can get you in terms of completions. We're trying to focus on that, really taking care of the ball and hitting open receivers."

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