The Sports Xchange

NFL Team Report - New York Giants - INSIDE SLANT

Following the worst season of his career, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning may be the man with the most to prove when the team begins training camp practices July 26 at the Timex Performance Center in East Rutherford, N.J.

It will be the job of new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, armed with his version of the West Coast Offense, to help Manning turn things around.

Although Manning has two Super Bowl MVP awards under his belt, his performance has been quietly slipping ever since the second half of the 2012 season. In the last eight games of 2012, Manning threw seven of his 15 interceptions versus throwing 14 (out of 26) touchdown passes. He finished 2012 by posting a 59.9 completion percentage, the first time he has completed fewer than 60 percent of his pass attempts since the 2007 Super Bowl season.

That downward spiral carried over into 2013 when Manning threw a career-high 27 picks to 18 touchdowns, the touchdowns being his lowest total in a 16-game season (excluding 2004, his rookie season when he played in nine games and threw six touchdowns).

He'll try do so in McAdoo's faster-paced offense that is supposed to be more quarterback friendly. But Manning must learn how to get the ball out quicker rather than wait for those deep passes.

Here are some other items of interest that will get some attention during this year's training camp.


--Offensive line: The Giants finished 28th in the league with their average of 307.5 yards per game, and they must get better up front in the trenches and do a better job of not only run blocking but keeping Manning upright.

Key starting positions to be determined are center and right guard. Figuring into the mix at both spots is second-round pick Weston Richburg, a natural center who is also going to work at guard this summer. Veteran J.D. Walton, signed originally as an undrafted free agent, must be healthy after missing last year recovering from an ankle issue that lingered from 2012. Richburg, regarded as the team's future at center, may also compete against veteran Chris Snee at right guard. Snee is recovering from hip and elbow surgeries.


--TIGHT END: The Giants made a curious decision to not address the tight-end position in the draft. Instead, they apparently have hung their hats on the continued development of Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell, both third-year players.

Both Robinson and Donnell say McAdoo's new offense requires a lot more thinking and movement from the tight-end position. So far, neither has committed any blatant errors that might cause concern. Robinson, who appears to be the front-runner, has yet to record his first NFL reception. The good news is that he looked good this spring catching the ball in the seam, using his 6-foot-4, 264-pound frame to pluck high passes out of the air.


--Devon Kennard, OLB, USC, Round 5/174th overall: With starting middle linebacker Jon Beason expected to miss at least three months with a broken foot, Kennard has an excellent opportunity to shoot up the depth chart.

"He's picked things up very well," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin. "He's very smart, very good on the board ... We're excited about him."


NFL Team Report - New York Giants - NOTES, QUOTES