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Eli Manning, 12.17.09

Q. There was a lot of talk going into the season about who was going to be your number one receiver. Given the numbers you have put up, does that satisfy you or with what is going on does that not matter?

A. You know, it comes down to winning games. I am trying to play my best. I think we have had some young guys really step up and do some great things. But when it all comes down to it, it’s about going out there and playing your best for four quarters and putting your team in a situation to win games. Right now we’ve got a big one coming up against Washington. I don’t care if I throw for 100 yards or 300 yards. As long as we win, that is when you are satisfied.

Q. Are you surprised at how Steve Smith has emerged this year?

A. I am not surprised. I knew Steve would have a great year going into his third year. He has always been a key guy on third down working in the slot and moving him around. I knew when he became the starter, being on the field for every play, he was going to emerge and step up and make some outstanding plays for us. I have been proud of him and how he has worked, how he has improved over the years. We have had a lot of other young receivers step up and play great football this year, also.

Q. How about Monday night? Is that the first of three that you have to win?

A. That is the mindset. Our mindset is that we have to go out there and play great football Monday night and we’ve got to find a way to win the game. It’s not going to be easy. Washington is playing great football. Their defense is always tough and plays well. Their offense has been playing really well lately. It is going to come down to us going out there, executing and everybody doing their part.

Q. Do they do something schematically different in the red zone that makes them the number one red zone defense?

A. I have just seen a little bit. I have watched a few games and what they have done. I think they are just sound. I don’t know if it is really different than anything. They mix in Tampa 2. They will play some quarters. They will blitz and play some man. I think some teams, whether they try to run the ball on first or second down don’t get much and they get a lot of third and longs. It’s just tough. They do a great job down there. We have to look at that and figure out what is our best way to attack and to be able to get some touchdowns down there.

Q. They have given up a lot of big plays this year. Can you go into a game looking to hit big plays or is it just something that happens?

A. You definitely call your shots sometimes versus specific coverages or specific looks. Sometimes you don’t get that look on that play and you’ve got to throw it to other guys or go through other reads. Sometimes you get the exact look. You’ve got to read it out and know when you have time. A lot of things have to come into factor to hit some big plays. Sometimes it is just individual great effort. You can throw it short or you can throw a slant and a guy breaks a tackle and makes a big play. So it is a combination of both.

Q. In addition to their red zone defense gelling together, what are the most noticeable changes you have seen in their defense since Week 1?

A. It is not a whole lot of changes. They have kind of stayed within the same game plan. I think they are just playing well. You have seen some young guys emerge and really play well. It is not like they are doing a whole lot of things differently. They play good football and they are aggressive. They are very consistent. They don’t change things up much so everybody knows what they are doing and they are very sound in their defense.

Q. Do they do anything fancy with Orakpo and Carter? Are they just lining them up and letting them come after people?

A. With Orakpo, they put him at the SAM linebacker and they like to rush him. They like to blitz him. Then on third down he is playing defensive end. Even though sometimes he is a linebacker, in most cases he is rushing, they don’t put him in man coverage a lot. Both of them have an ability to find the quarterback and you have to be aware of where they are on the field.