No one knows where Eli Manning will be playing next year. But the odds are pretty good, however it works out, that he’ll have to learn a new offense.
If he stays with the Giants, they won’t be running the Ben McAdoo West Coast playbook. The new head coach will bring in his own way of thinking. If he goes to another team, he’ll have to adjust to their system. Eli isn’t like his brother Peyton Manning was when he was a free agent, when teams (ultimately the Broncos) understood they were signing not just the quarterback but his offense.
Yet Eli Manning said this week he hasn’t given much thought to the possibilities.
“That’s kind of the last thing on my mind right now,” he told Newsday.
Manning has run just two systems in his 14-year NFL career. He won two Super Bowls with the Tom Coughlin-Kevin Gilbride scheme but has no illusions of returning to that.
“The first one was kind of the run and shoot,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s up and running a whole lot anymore.”
The second was the West Coast scheme brought in by McAdoo in 2014. That resulted in more efficiency in terms of completions and interceptions but obviously fewer wins as well.
Whatever adjustments Manning has to make during this upcoming offseason, he seemed confident in his ability to do so. Having made the switch once already at a relatively late stage of his career helps that. Plus, most offenses are hybrids of each other anyway. Elements can be pulled from a vertical scheme like the Redskins’, a zone blocking scheme like the Steelers, and the option routes used by the Patriots, to create a new stew that can become Manning’s new system.
“It’s a copycat league, so guys are doing a lot of similar stuff,” he said. “I don’t know what style of offense I would go for.”
It may be the last thing on his mind now, but in about a month or so it may be the most important factor in the rest of his career.