Eli's Back-Foot Issues
Eli Manning  (Elsa/Getty Images)
Publisher
Posted Nov 10, 2011


Eli Manning's past problems of floating throws off his back foot has cropped up again, but they're not driving offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride as crazy as they did earlier in the quarterback's career.

You saw it early in Eli Manning's career.

The pressure comes, Manning takes off, and lobs a throw off his back foot that is likely intercepted or broken up downfield against the Patriots.

You saw it against the Patriots last week.

He looks for Mario Manningham in the end zone in the third quarter, only to float one to the back where it's picked off by Kyle Arrington.

In both cases, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride nearly swallows his headset.

But there is a different. Gilbride is doing a lot less gulping this year because the type of throw Manning is back-footing is different than the ones he used to attempt as a young quarterback.

It's all part of Manning's growing maturity. Not that Gilbride wouldn't love to see it stop dead in its tracks, but at least Manning by and large isn't throwing up the proverbial lollipop on a regular basis. His six back-footed throws against the Patriots, for instance, was a season high.

"I don't like when he's falling away," Gilbride said. "Now, to be honest, sometimes the (pass) rush is such that you can't step into the throw. But that's where judgement comes into play. You've got to know what throws you can make.

"If you're trying to throw it 50 yards downfield, the percentages are that it's going to be picked.

"The one in the end zone that got picked, Manningham's wide open. It's the defender who fell back and made the play. Again, if I can't throw it well enough because of where the rush is, I just gotta throw it out of bounds."

For the most part, Manning has done that this year. And it's all because of the type of passes he's throwing when forced off the back foot.

"It's not that at one time he did it one way and now he's perfect with it, but he's gotten better with it," Gilbride said.

He'll have to be extra careful with it against the 7-1 Niners.

"I think you always have to be conscious about turning the ball over," Manning said. "They do it in many different ways. There are fumbles, interceptions, sacks and stripping guys who are running with the ball so everybody has to be aware.

The fact is, though, that those types of passes can get a quarterback in trouble at key times.

"They are a team that looks to cause turnovers and get the ball out so everybody has to be focused on their run after catch because they are coming around trying to strip the ball," Manning said.

Gilbride wouldn't mind seeing Manning put an end to it all.

"Totally," Gilbride said. "Sometimes you gotta say take the sack, kick a field goal, throw it out the back of the end zone. You've got to recognize the ceiling of every play, and the best thing you can do is take a sack. You hate to do that, because it fights against all your instincts, but that's what you've got to do."



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