Eli Manning, 09.23.09

Q. Frustration with the red zone or do you have to give credit to the other team, as well?

A. They definitely deserve credit the other night, we just got ourselves into some bad situations. We had two times second and five or six, which is a good situation, we lost five yards on the next play. You are stuck in third and long, and down there, it’s just tough. It wasn’t like we didn’t convert, we didn’t have a whole lot to work with. It was bad situations. We have to keep working and make sure that we don’t have negative plays down there. We scored some touchdowns, but we just have to get more.

Q. Do you sense that the guys, knowing that there has been a red zone problem, are stressing a little bit when you get down there?

A. I don’t think so. I don’t think that is the problem. We have had a couple of bad plays and it’s a credit to the defense. They have had the right defensive call on at those times. They have done well. We have to be able to make some plays, whether it is scramble around or doing something.

Q. 2-0 against two divisional rivals. Where is the team’s confidence going into this stretch?

A. We knew we had a tough start to the season. Not just those two games, but with Tampa on the road, it is going to be a hot day. It is good that we had practice today in some warm weather, but it is going to be a tough contest. They are a talented team. We have to go out there and play our best. We are doing some good things, but there are still a lot of things we can do better. We can definitely improve.

Q. For years when you looked at that Tampa defense, Derrick Brooks was a major playmaker. How much different is that defense without him?

A. Obviously, they have a new defensive coordinator, so they are doing some things differently than when we played them in the past. They still play the Tampa-2 defense, they still have some of the same players, Ronde Barber, and guys who can make plays. We have to go in there and have a great game plan. Go out there and play consistent football. Don’t turn the ball over and make plays when we are out there.

Q. They are without (former defensive coordinator Monte) Kiffin, is it fair to say they are a blitzing team?

A. I have just seen two games. They will blitz some, they are not heavy, heavy blitz. They do it enough, where they mix it in. They are pretty successful at it. Ronde has always been a guy who has gotten to the quarterback. He will blitz. They do it enough where you have to prepare for it, but they are still very talented on the defensive side.

Q. You guys only have two hundred yards rushing through the first two games. Do you think that the way defenses have been able to be successful is a product of how they are preparing to stop Brandon (Jacobs)?

A. Yeah, that could be a factor. Defenses are worried about our running game. It can be very explosive, that is why we probably had some success throwing the ball. We are going to try to get the running game going, get that established. That should continue to help with our passing game. Whatever the defense is doing, we will try to have an answer for it, to attack it whether it is with the run or the pass.

Q. It really hasn’t tripped you guys up, the offense is still moving?

A. Yeah, we have moved the ball well. It would be great to be able to run it. When we get tight in the red zone to be able to run it and get touchdowns, to get first downs down there when things get condensed. We still have been able to move the ball efficiently, but we would like to establish that physical part of the game.

Q. In the way that Plaxico (Burress) could contribute to the offense without putting up numbers, do you feel that Jacobs is doing that now?

A. Yeah, people are worried about him and worried about our running game. That is why we are able to hit some big plays so far in the passing game. Safeties down, they are playing single high a lot, so those things come into consideration. They make us be able to have play action and hit some big plays. We have had more big plays in the passing game so far this year than we have had in the past. That is good to see. We are trying to be balanced and have a good mix.

Q. Are you surprised in any way how good (Mario) Manningham and (Steve) Smith have been?

A. No, I have said all along that we have the playmakers on this team and guys who can get down the field and make exciting plays for us. Steve has done that for us in the past and Mario, I knew he was exciting and had a lot of skills to him and can make some exciting plays and he has done that. We have to keep working and we know that there are still some areas where we can improve upon.

Q. Was there a point in the offseason or training camp with Mario where you said he had definitely turned the corner and you were getting comfortable with him?

A. Yeah, you just saw it in his mindset and determination to want to go out there and play well. Asking questions, trying to figure out what else he could do, really trying to learn what is going on. You could see that he had ability to make plays, explosive coming out of breaks, catching the ball very easily with his hands. So, it is just a matter of getting him to where he is confident, he is running fast, and let him use his natural ability.

Q. What was the point where you were confident, because ultimately you had to grow confident with him?

A. That just comes through practice and that is the only way to do it. Through training camp, through spring practice, more reps, the more times you get to work with them. Whether he is making good plays or making mistakes. Talking him through things, kind of hearing what he is saying and get a sense of what he is seeing and make sure he is seeing the same thing that I am.

Q. Your offensive line and you have been together for the longest span since the 1970’s. What does the continuity there mean for a quarterback?

A. It is very important to have your offensive line together. For pass protection, the run game, being able to make checks, to make adjustments, having more options to do during the game. If the defense is showing something they haven’t shown before, you can easily get into a protection or make a call that everybody will be on the same page. They work great together and you just kind of let them do their thing. I know they will do a good job for us.

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