Film breakdown: Despite the results, Eli’s “tired arm” did indeed look to be missing some velocity

Up until now, I hadn’t touched the whole “Eli Manning has a tired arm” thing.  It wasn’t something I had noticed on my own on film, and I never went back to look and see if his passes were missing velocity, and/or depth.

On NFL Network this morning, they showed Eli’s post-game press conference, in which he addressed the tired arm:

“I never thought my arm was tired… After a week off and coming back to practice it felt good. It felt live. The ball seemed to be coming out with a little extra pop on it. So that’s always good. I think that’s kind of natural after a week off of not throwing much… It definitely needed a little rest.”

I suppose that quote can be interpreted a number of different ways, but to me, it reads like an acknowledgement that there was indeed something to the whole”tired arm” thing, which originated from NFL Film’s Greg Cosell and Ron Jaworski (via Evan Silva of PFT):

“Ron Jaworski and I were having this conversation this week,” Cosell said. “I looked at Eli on Monday; Jaws looked at Eli on Wednesday. And he made a very interesting comment. It really struck me, and I would defer to Jaws on this because I’ve never taken snaps in the NFL. … It looks to him like Eli’s arm is a little tired. And that he’s not driving the ball at the intermediate and deeper levels the way we’ve come to expect. Because Eli has a strong arm.

“And we even got that sort of confirmed by someone who’s a lot closer to the situation. His arm’s a little bit tired right now. He’s missed some throws that he would normally make.”

Personally, like Cosell, I can’t comment on what “tired arm” feels like.  I was never a QB, a starting pitcher in baseball, or anything like that.  However, in watching Sunday night’s Giants-Packers game, some of Eli’s throws showed a lack of arm strength, that again, in being in agreement with Cosell and Jaworski, we’re used to seeing Eli make.

The most glaring one was a deep ball to Hakeem Nicks with 13:35 left in the 2nd quarter.  The Giants ran play action out of the shotgun, and Eli had a perfectly clean pocket.  Note the depth of Eli’s drop. He plants his back foot at the 30:

He had the opportunity to really step into this throw (note where Eli is when he releases this pass in comparison to where he planted on his drop):

Nicks was open deep, but this pass was an ugly, wounded duck that Eli underthrew by a good 5 yards.  Nicks was forced to slow up (which you can’t really see in the below still shot), and the Packers’ defensive backs were able to make the play:

A perfect ball here would have led Nicks to about the 20 yard line.  Eli left it about 5 yards short at the 25.

Here’s another one.  This pass was actually more of a short-intermediate throw, but because of the tight window he’s trying to fit it into, Eli tries to put a little extra on it.  Again, clean pocket, and Eli has the chance to step into the throw:

It’s so inaccurate that he not only throws behind Nicks, but he also throws it behind the trailing DB.  If the pass were actually a little more on target, this could have been picked:

It wasn’t all terrible though.  There was one pass that he couldn’t step into, and was all arm.  BJ Raji pushes the guard back into Eli:

But Eli is able to deliver an on-target pass that traveled 20+ yards that has enough zip to get to Nicks:

Nice throw.

The Giants absolutely dismantled the Packers last night, and Eli’s numbers were good: 16 of 30, 249 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT.  I can almost guarantee that after a quick google search, you’ll be able to find at least a dozen articles this morning that say, “So much for that whole ‘Eli’s arm is tired’ nonsense.”  Chances are those articles will not site any specific throws Eli made last night to squash that notion.

He really only had to make 3 throws all night that required “+ arm strength,” and he missed two of them… badly.  Eli Manning will be fine, and I think his struggles over the the last three weeks were a little overblown.  However, I wouldn’t exactly say that last night’s performance was some sort of indication that his right arm suddenly morphed back into a cannon.

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  1. […] Eli’s Arm Might Not Be “Tired”, But Velocity is Still Missing Eli's Arm Migh… […]

  2. dannymac056 says:

    We are all missing the real crisis from this game, the true reason Giants fans should be really worried…

    JPP got caught by Jeff Saturday. 37 year old Jeff Saturday shoe-string tackled the most athletic DE in the league. Am I the only one alarmed by that?

    1. Ha, we’ll in fairness, Saturday was a Howard Mudd guy for years, and Mudd loves him some quick O linemen, particularly at center.

  3. ATLeagle says:

    I liked on your second example when Collinsworth blamed the inaccurate throw on the receiver for not “posting up” as Eli was expecting him to. Normally I like Collinsworth, but that was absurd.

    1. mjoedgaard says:

      When we dont know the play call its hard to know if posting up was a part of an option route and the WR and QB just wasnt on the same page.

      In 2010 Manning had a ton of ints because of that.

  4. NYG_slater says:

    yup, good stuff Jimmy, noticed those plays too….While Eli looked better last night, he still left some plays out there. Also, the AB2 injury could be huge. He’s been spectacular, and lets Gilbride get away with calling for vanilla run plays in the redzone. Thankfully Jerry Reese is clairvoyant, they tried out like 6 running backs during the bye (initially, I believed it was relief for AB1, not AB2…), so they should have a good idea on a replacement “thumper” back.

    Some other thoughts:

    I liked some of the creativity Gilbride showed early on, but we still need more of it. We only attempt 1-2 screens a game. I’d like to see more (i.e. bradshaws 59 yard scamper). Also, more throws to the TE/FB in the redzone, they are always open, its Eli’s fault if he misses them, not the play design! (marty B and Hyno were wide open, on the the play Eli missed hynoski) Overall, Gilbride still uses vanilla run plays in the the redzone, but this week they could execute it against the packers short-handed defense. Not sure it would work against a better defense.

    Sadly, not sure Gilbride would change his gameplan for different defenses either. He hasn’t so far this year, he’s been consistent with the running style and some weeks it works, and other weeks it doesn’t. (oddly enough, it worked against SF too…..idk why, maybe motivation and/or O-line health?)

    Also, that ugly pitchout/toss we run (3rd quarter/10:30) in short yardage situations needs to be burned. Defenses are too crowded around the LOS for that play to work a #’s advantage on the edge. We try a variation of that play seemingly every week and always run to Bennett’s side–team’s aren’t fooled.

    On defense, Kiwi needs to stay in the D-line rotation, they played him at DE, DT, and directly over the center. He had his best game all year and never played ANY lber. He’s better suited on the the D-line and keeps osi fresh for obvious passing downs.

    Having Kenny Phillips back was HUGE! It was easily the most important difference for our defensive performance yesterday. This defense is a different beast when they can utilize 3 safeties for pass defense, (I think) a couple times they used FOUR (Will Hill assumed the Jacquain Williams position. while Rolle covered the slot). This formation is big enough with Hill and Rolle to stop 3rd and medium runs, but can also cover TE’s and slot receivers long enough for our NASCAR package to do its job. It got us off the field last night.

    What more can be said about Chase Blackburn…Obviously, he’s limited athletically and can be exploited in zone coverage (lol at him chasing Cobb) but the man has the instincts and smarts to make plays and he’s always in the right position. He’s tough to take off the field.

  5. brisulph says:

    As a Giants fan, Eli’s short passes (ie less than 10 yards) are the ones that are really concerning me. He missed an EASY TD to Hynoski early, as well as a few dump off passes. He is never going to be a +70% completion rate QB, but he reminded me more of 2008 Eli last night than anything.

    1. Yeah, the Hynoski miss was a bad one.

  6. Yeah #1 was ugly and could have ended up in a pick.
    #2 was just as ugly but I didn’t put it on arm’s strength live, I thought it was just inaccurate – Manning threw a bunch of those last night, most of them on short routes by the way. With Gilbride down the field philosophy, he just might not be used to it ^^

    The passing game isn’t 100% back yet (Bradshaw was our leading receiver until late) but it definitely looked better.

    38-21 was close enough btw. I just had the winner wrong.

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