Last season was a disappointing year for the New York Giants. After a tremendous season where Big Blue went 12-4, the Giants took some steps backwards in and missed the playoffs. Despite a red-hot start to the season and ripping off five wins, the Giants stumbled with a tough schedule and finished with three wins in their last 11 games to finish 8-8 and third in the NFC East. The Giants had a number of issues last year. Their offensive line was shaky, the defense looked like it gave up down the stretch, and the secondary wasn’t very good either. You can point to a lot of reasons for the Giants poor season, but one of those reasons was not Eli Manning. While Manning threw 14 interceptions, he also had a career years statistically and threw for a career high in both yards and touchdown passes. Manning did his part in, but if the Giants want to return to the top of the NFC East, the rest of the team will need to do their in.
Eli Manning joined ESPN Radio in New York with Brandon Tierney to talk about how training camp has gone so far, the numbers he put up last season, what his personal goals are coming off a career year statistically, what he learned from last season, what concerns he has for this season for the Giants, and what one defender he eyes the most before a play starts.
On what he looks to do statistically this season:
“I like to kinda say hey I like to have single digit interceptions. I’d like to have 30 touchdowns, but if we’re running the ball in instead of throwing it, that doesn’t bother me. I like to get wins, I like to get in the playoffs, and kinda eliminate the bad plays by my part. Eliminate the turnovers in that sense and have a good third down percentage. When you’re converting 50 percent on third downs, those types of things is what I look at instead of touchdown numbers and yards numbers. Those can all be dictating on the game and you just gotta take what the defense is giving you.”
On what he can learn from last year’s poor season by the team:
“Yeah I think you always grow every year. You pick up on things and kinda have a better feel for the offense, protecting things up and one thing we wanted to work on more as an offense was hitting more big plays and we definitely did that. I think we were in the top five in 20 plus passes down the field. We’d always be in the 20s or something like that in the ranking so that was good. Now we gotta get more consistent. We still have to complete those seven or eight yard passes. Get those first downs on third and nine and get those third downs on third and four. When you’re completing those little ones and keep hitting the big ones that’s when you have a great mix.”
On what concerns him the most:
“None of those concern me. I think our offensive line is great. These guys, they work hard, they work well with each other, they communicate, they know what they’re doing, and we’ve had pretty much the same offensive line for six years. You don’t get that very often and they know the drill. Their bodies are holding up. You’ve got some guys who are getting up there a little bit and we’ve got some young guys that we drafted that we want to get into the mix. We want them playing, we want them to play well, and I think that’s fair. These guys understand that if their role changes and they have to be a backup, then they’ve kinda accepted that. As an offensive lineman guys get banged up. They’re gonna get a chance to play and they’re gonna have to come in there and play well and sometimes that’s what you want from a veteran guy. He’s gonna know what he’s doing, he doesn’t need the reps to know what he’s doing. If that’s what happens then we have guys who are professionals that know the drill and they’ll be able to accept that and it will be better for our team.”
On the opposing player that he always needs to identify before the play starts:
“Opposing player? It’s DeMarcus (Ware) and you pretty much know where he’s gonna be most of the time. As kind of a running back or an offensive line, you’re gonna be blocking him. You make sure you try and get a tackle, a back, or a tight end, and you kinda keep two guys eyed up on him as whenever possible. He’s a special player and playing him twice a year, sometimes playing him three times, you gotta know where he is. He can take over a game.”
On the predictions that people are making about the Giants being in last place in the NFC East:
“I don’t read much into those things and everybody has their predictions. I don’t think we’re gonna get fourth place in the NFC East. I’ll tell ya that. I think we have a lot of talent, a lot of good players, it’s gonna be a fun year for us, we’re gonna play well, and I’m excited to get rolling with this. But people have their predictions.”