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Eli Manning, 08.10.09

Q: What’s the holdup with the contract?

A: It’s just some little stuff. It’ll get worked out, but I don’t have much information on that right now.

Q: Have you gotten a feel yet for your receivers?

A: Yeah. The guys are doing well. We’re throwing a lot at them. They’re getting reps and we’re going to make mistakes, that’s part of learning, but we’re not repeating the same mistakes and that’s a good thing. We’re getting different looks, different coverages, and different reads, and they’re making plays. They’re hitting a lot of big plays. There are some mistakes we’ve got to fix, but that’s why you go to training camp and that’s why we’ve had all these practices, to work out all the kinks. We’re throwing a lot of things at them right now and once you get into a game situation and you’ll have a smaller playbook, fewer plays and you can concentrate more on those things. For the most part they’re doing well and they’re competing and working hard and I like that. There have been some big plays out there, more than we’ve had in the past, and that’s exciting.

Q:  How do think injuries can hurt rookies if they miss training camp? How much are you worried about Hakeem (Nicks) not being out there?

A: You like to have those rookies out there as much as you can. You want them to be out there so they can learn on the run. In a way you want them to get out there and make mistakes so they can learn from them and not repeat them. Get their timing, get their confidence up. I know he wants to be out there, he’s asking me questions still, he’s out there at practice watching and trying to learn, but he’s got to have confidence in the guys who are out there practicing that they’re going to do well for us and they’re doing a good job.

Q: What about [David] Tyree trying to come back?

A: David’s just a guy who knows the offense and knows what’s going on. He’s a guy you can trust. When we get into games he makes plays for us, he always has and so he’s doing a good job trying to get back into the flow of things after having a year off.

Q: Do you find yourself teaching and coaching the receivers more than in the past?

A: Probably a little bit. You always talk with your receivers but just explaining things to them and making sure we’re on the same page and I like them to come back to me and tell me what they saw. It’s not always me just talking to them but it’s them talking back to me and getting the feel and making sure we’re discussing everything and that everything is the way we want it.

Q: There have been a lot of interceptions in camp. Is that because you’re just getting familiar with some of the guys?

A: Yeah, you never like interceptions but in a way you’ve got to see what guys are capable of. You’ve got to give them some shots and see if they can go get the ball for you. Some of the mistakes are just being on the field on the wrong page and that’s what you learn from. There’ll be some trial and error there, but a lot of it is just little things and when one person does something a little wrong it can screw up the whole route but we’ve got to cut down on the interceptions. That’s always a must but I think there should be less and less as we get further into camp just because guys should be doing the right things and…

Q: Aside from technical football stuff, what does a rookie need to know in his first pro football training camp?

A: There are a lot more plays, a lot more defenses – you’ve just got to be a smarter player and there’s not as much time to learn. We’ve got a preseason game coming up very shortly and when the rookies come in they’re expected to contribute to the season. There’s not a whole lot of learning time to take time and develop. It’s about getting out there, getting reps, and learn the offense. At night it’s about studying your playbook and it’s a grind right now so they’ve got to be in the book every night. If they’re watching a veteran and he’s sitting around watching TV and relaxing a little bit some nights, he has to know that he can’t do the same thing because this guy knows what’s going on the next day and you don’t. You’ve just got to be focused and committed to trying to learn and get yourself mentally and physically ready to play.

Q: Any of these receivers surprise or impress you?

A: A lot of guys are doing well. I think Ramses [Barden] is doing really well, he’s a big target, he makes the plays, he seems like he has a pretty good feel for what is going on. Sinorice [Moss] is doing well and making some big plays, [Mario] Manningham is getting down the field and doing some good stuff so guys are doing well. It’s just about continuing to get reps and get better.

Q: Where are you right now personally after about a week of camp?

A: I feel good, my body feels good, my arm feels fresh. Usually by this time your arm can start getting a little tired and you’re struggling to get the deep balls out as far, but my arm feels fresh and it’s not a problem getting the ball out so that’s always good news. I haven’t had a whole lot of time to rest it, no off days besides after the first two, and so I’m trying to keep working with the receivers, making sure we’re on the right page. Going in right now, I’m trusting them and for the most part they’re doing a good job and we’re getting better every day and that’s what you want to see.

Q: Has it been a mentally taxing week for you with so much inexperience in the receiving corps?

A: No, not mentally. You just can’t get down and can’t get frustrated because there are going to be some mistakes and it’s a little different from years past when you had Plaxico [Burress], Amani [Toomer], and those guys who’ve been here for five or six years where you know they know what’s going on, they know the plays. You’re still going to have bad plays and people will make mistakes but it’s a little different when you are teaching and it’s a little bit more trial and error at the beginning of camp. You’ve just got to keep your confidence up, make sure your receivers stay confident, and compliment them when they do well, and if they make a mistake, it’s not about getting on them and ripping them right now. It’s about talking through things and making sure that they learn from it and that they don’t do it again.

Q: One week down, one more week before you see Carolina. What do you want to see happen over the next few days?

A: I think a lot of it is just cutting down on the mental errors in every position. A lot of little things. That’s why football is such a great game, if one person does the wrong thing the play is going to be unsuccessful and it takes eleven guys all doing the right thing to make plays work. We’ve just got to get on the same page and have a crisper practice - that’s what you want – there are no mental errors. There are going to be plays you miss and plays you don’t. Those things you can correct and get better but those will happen but if you’re not mentally focused, that’s when you’re not playing good football.

Q: How do you keep your arm fresh throughout camp?

A: I just try to keep throwing, icing the arm after practice, stretching it out. It’s hard to prepare for the first two days of training camp – two two-a-days in a row – and you throw a lot of times in two days, so it’s getting through those first couple days without any soreness. When you get a day to rest you try to get stretched out and just do a lot of maintenance to keep it from getting tired.

Q: Is that what you always do or is this a new thing?

A: I’ve been more conscious of it now – icing it after every practice, really getting stretched a little more between practices or when there’s time, just really being preventative from the get-go rather than wait until it’s tired to start treating it.

Q: Looks like you guys are starting to get Brandon [Jacobs] out on some pass patterns. Is that something you’re looking to do with Derek [Ward] gone this year?

A: I think it’s something Brandon has worked on – getting out of the back field, catching the ball, concentrating on catching it, and to have a successful pass game the backs have to do a good job of blocking, do a good job of getting out in the routes and doing the right thing. He does a good job. He catches it naturally and he’s done a good job.