New York Giants

Eli Manning On The New York Giants Young Wide Receivers: ‘this Training Camp, We Had A Lot Of Young Guys Who I Felt I Had To Make Sure Really Didn’t Lose Their Confidence. I’m Not Going To Throw Them Under The Bus…

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Eli Manning finally got the mega-contract he’d been looking for since guiding the New York Giants to a Super Bowl championship in 2007. And a little more than a week after coming to terms on a tentative agreement with the club, Manning officially inked the contract extension that will keep him in New York through 2015 and pay him as much as $97 million dollars, $33 of which are guaranteed. When you look at just his numbers alone, it’s seems hard to comprehend how Manning’s worth that much scratch. But that’s the going rate for franchise quarterbacks these days and regardless of whether or not you think Eli is in the same echelon as his brother, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger, you have to admit that he’s a guy worthy of building a franchise around. Manning joined WFAN in New York late last week to talk about getting the deal behind him, the start of training camp, and how he’s looking to help his Giants finish – both games and the season – more strongly in 2009 after stumbling down the stretch a year ago.

On his early assessment of the new-look New York Giants:

“You know, I feel good about this group. The guys, they practice hard; they compete, they work, they’re studying. And there’s some talent there. The speed – it’s kind of a different feel from years before. You know, before, we always had the ability to make some plays, but we didn’t really throw the ball down the field a whole lot. We weren’t very good at it and we didn’t have a whole lot of separation. So we just didn’t do a whole lot. We were very good at kind of being methodical and taking our dinks and dunks and running the ball, and kind of being tough and making 3rd down conversions. But I think we should have the ability to make some big plays, throw the ball down the field. And that’s exciting.”

On if the Giants offense has or needs a No. 1, bigtime wide receiver to emerge this year now that Plaxico Burress is no longer in the organization’s plans:

“No, I think it’s going to be a little bit receiver by committee this year. You’d love to see a guy step up and take over. And you know, there are some guys that you see glimpses of, but some of these guys are young and need to learn how to do it day in and day out and not make the mental mistakes or the misstep that causes problems. And that’s where, that’s kind of the difference. A lot of these guys are talented, but just having a guy who, you know, when you have Plaxico and Amani, guys who have been here five years in the same offense and we’ve just done this so many times. You know, there’s just a great comfort and they’ve already made the mistakes and gotten those out of the way. We have some guys, you know, they’re making some mistakes. I guess you kind of prefer that some of these mistakes happen know so they can get them out of the way and learn from them.”

On if he’s assumed more of the leadership role on the team now that some of the mega-personalities like Jeremy Shockey, Tiki Barber and Plaxico Burress are no longer with the team:

“That’s kind of what I take as one of my jobs coming in to this season. This training camp, we had a lot of young guys who I felt I had to make sure really didn’t lose their confidence. I’m not going to throw them under the bus, I’m going to make sure that hey, if they make a bad play, and before the coach can get to them, I can see the coach fuming and about to rip him, I might say hey coach, let me get him on this one. And kind of let me talk to him and just make sure they’re learning from it so they just don’t go in the tank. I know it easily happens to young receivers. They’re thinking so much, they’re trying so hard, they’re trying to do all the right things. And if they make a mistake, you just want to tell them, you’re doing great things. You get them after practice and say hey, great go route. Just remember, when we hit that one, think about this little thing versus this read. So we just trying to work with them, make sure they go in to that next practice knowing they’re doing a lot of things well, but they’ve got room for improvement also.”

On his detractors that point to his fairly pedestrian statistics compared to some quarterbacks who play in more favorable throwing conditions:

“I’ve just kind of come to realize it. As a quarterback that’s playing in this type of weather, you’re just trying to get wins. You can have a great pretty day, but can still have a 25 mph wind. And that could be September. Or snow, it’s coming. So I just don’t get caught up in the numbers. But as a quarterback, you have to manage the game, and you have to try to find ways to win games. And a lot of the teams have to deal with the same weather. You look at Brady in New England – when he was winning some of his early Super Bowls, he wasn’t throwing for 300 yards every game. He was throwing for 175 yards, but he wasn’t making mistakes, he was making key 3rd downs, moving the ball and just finding ways to win games.”

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