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Don't Count on Eli Manning Completing 70 Percent of His Passes

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Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistJuly 29, 2014

In 2013, Eli Manning had the sixth-lowest completion percentage among 37 qualifying quarterbacks. And after factoring in and/or ruling out a slew of additional metrics, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) actually concluded that the two-time Super Bowl MVP was the least accurate qualifying passer in the NFL

That's why it's impossible to imagine Manning suddenly redeeming himself to such an extent that he's able to complete a ridiculous 70 percent of his passes in 2014. 

That's the goal, though, according to new quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf.

"It hasn't been done very often, so that's the ultimate goal," Langsdorf said Monday, per ESPN.com's Dan Graziano. "I think it's been done eight or nine times, maybe? That's an impressive statistic in the history of the league. So that's what we're gunning for, that 70 percent."

Of course, it never hurts to aim high, and this is expected to be a quarterback-friendly offense under new coordinator Ben McAdoo.

"The passing game is likely to rely more on short, higher-percentage passes than the old Kevin Gilbride-coached offense did," wrote Graziano, "and the theory is that Manning's completion percentage will rise for that reason alone."

But the reality is that Langsdorf's numbers are a little high—based on qualifying criteria at Pro Football Reference, only four men have ever completed 70 percent of their passes in a season, with Drew Brees hitting that mark twice—and Manning has never been a high-percentage passer. 

Quarterbacks who have completed 70% of their passes
QuarterbackYearComp.%
1. Drew Brees201171.2
2. Drew Brees200970.6
2. Ken Anderson198270.6
4. Steve Young199470.3
5. Joe Montana198970.2
Minimum 14 attempts per scheduled game

That's not necessarily a criticism. The 10-year veteran deserves some praise for his audacity. He won't hold back when it's time to be desperate, and he isn't afraid to take chances. As a result, his rate-based stats don't do his resume justice. 

Manning has never completed more than 63 percent of his passes and has been held below 60 percent each of the last two years. He's finished a season ranked in the top 10 in that area just once in his career. 

So with McAdoo likely bringing some West Coast tendencies and some underneath options to town, Manning should see his completion percentage climb back above 60 in 2014. But both he and this offense would have to transform in a colossal way for such a boost to take place, and that's not something anybody should expect to happen with Tom Coughlin still on board and Manning unlikely to completely overhaul his game at the age of 33. 

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