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Kevin Gilbride, 12.24.09

Re: Playing against Julius Peppers this weekend?

A. He is a special football player. We always chip, help and do whatever is necessary to give Eli (Manning) a chance to throw the ball. Sometimes it’s a back, sometimes it is a lineman sliding out, sometimes it’s a tight end. But we will always do what is necessary. If that means we sacrifice some of the routes to get that done, that has always been our approach.

Q. Last year he stayed over David (Diehl) most of the time. Would you expect them to move him around and have him go up against (Will) Beatty a little bit?

A. On first and second down he will be on that side. Third down he goes back and forth. It is hard to get a pattern or a bead on it. I would say generally speaking he is more on the right side, opposite our left tackle. I expect him to go both. Based on who’s blocking him, how well they are blocking him. He tries to get it so you can’t setup each snap where he is going to be. So if you put your formation so you can put your back to the left thinking he is going to be there, well, he is not there that time. They’ll do that just for that purpose alone. I would say more often than not, he will opposite David.

Q. Last week you opened the game with the pass to (Bear) Pascoe. I am sure there was something scripted but how low on the read chart was he for Eli?

A. First. First option. It was ‘naked direction.’ So based on the secondary look. You read that one top down, so the secondary, then the linebackers, then the defensive line. I had anticipated faking left and going right. Eli got a little fooled because the safety was down on the right and he went back. So he ‘opposite’d and went the other direction so it wound up going to Bear when I thought it was going to wind up going to Kevin (Boss). But it turned out fine. It probably removed some the anxiety in Bear, allowed him to play a little bit more confidently and get that under his belt the very first play of the game.

Q. The last couple of games Eli has really played well. I am just wondering how well do you think he is seeing the field?

A. I think he has been playing great football. I wouldn’t say the last two weeks, I think really the last six or seven weeks, with the exception of the one half against Denver where offensively we didn’t perform very well at all. Really they have been playing very well and of course, it isn’t always him, but certainly he is always an integral part of it. So for us to have been playing as well as we have been playing, you have to give a lot of credit to him. He is doing a great job. As I have said many times, certainly the thing he is judged on is the throws or the accuracy of the throws and the completion percentage, etc. But, so much we ask and demand of that position in our system is that he can set up the run game. The run game has been getting steadily better. That he setup the protections, which obviously helps him but he gives us the chance to have the success that we have had. So he has played well really for a long time. We have been very pleased with the way he is performing.

Q. Has the run game started to get going the way you would like to see it?

A. It has been more consistent, which is the thing that I wanted. I think I may have misconveyed, I said I am not happy with two or three yard gains. But what I can’t stand is you get seven and then you get minus-two or you get a penalty. As long as you are getting two, three, four, and then occasionally an eight or nine yard play, then I think you stay in a down and distance rhythm that makes my job a lot easier. I don’t have to be limited in the play selection. Also, they can’t pin their ears back. They have to play the run and the pass. Now it gives the guys up front a chance to be successful. From that standpoint I think we have made tremendous strides. Are we at the yards per carry average that I would like? No. I would like to see that get better. There are not many lost yardage plays and there are not many plays that have brought upon a penalty which is so painful when you run the ball. Occasionally you are going to get a holding call if you are pass protecting. You don’t want to ever see it in the run game. I think so far, knock on wood, we have been getting much better in that respect.