New York Giants

Eli Manning Opens Up On How Much Hakeem Nicks’ Injury Hurt the Giants’ Offense

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The New York Giants were talking dynasty prior to this season. Now, they’re in a mini state of flux after following up a Super Bowl victory with a disappointing, non-playoff season. You get the feeling Eli Manning has become so used to winning that he’s very frustrated, especially with himself — but also with the injury that prevented Hakeem Nicks from being his usual self in 2012.

Eli Manning joined Mike Francesa on WFAN in New York to discuss the 2012 season and the trend that they blew teams out and lost close games. He examined his season personally, reflecting on how much the injury to Hakeem Nicks hurt the offense, and the opportunities he’ll still have to get back to the Super Bowl. He also touched on how well his brother is playing in Denver.

On a disappointing 2012 season:

“Not quite good enough. We knew after last year that you just can’t flirt with 9-7 and expect that to be good enough. … You could always look back at a season and pick a few games. We could have won this one, we could have won that one. But it’s usually, at the end of the year, you’re gonna kinda know the scenario. You’re gonna know what you need to do to possibly make the playoffs, what games you need to win, and this year it was right in front of us. We knew what we needed to do, and we didn’t go do it. And that’s disappointing but we have no one to blame but ourselves for not taking advantage of the opportunity that we had to make the playoffs.”

On dominating good teams but losing close games this season:

“We played some really, really good games. We probably had some more dominating wins than we had in the past, versus good teams — versus the Saints and versus Green Bay and versus San Francisco. But we just lost some tight games; we lost some of those close games that we needed to win.”

On his season personally:

“I don’t think it was as good as it needed to be. I think there was a couple games where it just wasn’t as on and I needed to play better. I think not having Hakeem 100 percent for most of the season, really the last 10 weeks, can hurt. And he’s out there playing hurt, and you love that toughness about it, that he wants to be out there. But it just made it tough when you’re starting a receiver who’s gotta win those one-on-one matchups and your deep threat and your playmaker all of a sudden kinda isn’t making the deep plays and the big plays. It can be tough to adjust to that. And I think just our timing was off on a number of things. … So I thought there were some good things, there were some great games, but just definitely some room for improvement and we’ll definitely get back to work on that.”

On the opportunities he’ll have left to win another championship:

“As I get older … you might not have that possibility, and anything can happen. I think the Giants are always going to supply us with great players and do everything we can … but you have injuries and different things that might come and [ruin] the season. For the most part, we were healthy. We had guys banged up here and there but … I think you want to try to take advantage of those opportunities that you have when you have a chance to possibly win another championship.”

On if he’s surprised by how well things have gone for Peyton Manning in Denver this year:

“Nothing surprises me anymore with Peyton. He’s worked extremely hard and he’s a guy who, he’s come in and got them practicing and preparing and playing the way that he wants them to. … He’s been playing great football, so it’s going to be fun to — I guess if I’m going to watch a playoff game, it really will probably only be Denver. That’s the only one I can kind of force myself to watch, otherwise I start getting upset. But when I’m rooting for my brother, it’s kind of a different mindset. So we’ll be watching him … and rooting hard for him to win that game and hopefully get the opportunity to win a championship.”

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