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Eli Manning 'loves' getting to throw downfield more

Offseason workouts versus air, sans the most dynamic receiver in the NFL, offer very little substantial indications as to what we can expect from the New York Giants' offense under new coach Pat Shurmur.

Speaking Tuesday night at a town hall event, Eli Manning helped fill the gaps, noting he's been stretching the field more this spring than in previous years.

"I've been throwing the ball down the field a lot more. Every quarterback loves that," he said, via the New York Daily News.

Under Ben McAdoo's guidance the past several seasons, the Giants were a dink-and-dunk operation, often relying on Odell Beckham Jr. to make a defender miss to earn a big play.

In 2017, Manning averaged 5.51 air yards per pass, via Next Gen Stats, the fourth-lowest among qualifying players. Manning also ranked in the bottom 10 in longest air distance (46.2) and longest air distance yards (35.07). The Giants' pass offense was an inefficient mess, especially without Beckham. Manning finished 2017 with a 5.7 adjusted yards gained per pass attempt, 26th in the NFL, per Pro Football Reference.

The Giants stretching the field more in 2018 will help open the entire operation.

Upgrades to the offensive line should aid that endeavor. One player Manning specifically mentioned is second-round guard Will Hernandez, who brings a feistiness to Big Blue's interior.

"Will Hernandez has already been in five fights," Manning said. "I love it."

With all the offensive upgrades this season -- running back Saquon Barkley, left tackle Nate Solder, Hernandez -- the Giants expect Manning to bounce back to form after several down seasons.

"We can win with him," Giants co-owner John Mara said of Manning. "Objectively, Dave [Gettleman] and Pat both said he can still play."

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