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Eli Manning, 09.30.09

Q:  Eli, correct me if I’m wrong.  It seems to me the last preseason game everybody seemed to start getting comfortable - you with the receivers.

A:  Yeah, I thought that all during training camp we did a good job.  I think in the last preseason game I only played one series.  It is hard to say we got comfortable then but I think it has just been a constant improvement through all of the preseason.  The guys are getting comfortable with the offense – just playing fast football, just understanding the ins and outs of it.  There is still room for improvement and there are still mistakes that we are all making, me included. We can improve.  There are plays out there that we are passing up.  So we have to keep working and know that we have to get better everyday at practice and take that to the game.

Q:  Are you surprised at all at how confident you are and comfortable you feel with these receivers?

A:  No, they have done a great job.  I knew these guys were going to be able to make some plays for us and they go out there and know what they are supposed to do.  They have a lot of talent, a lot of explosiveness in them and have big play potential.  But they have done all of the little things right.  They have done a great job of making the plays when they are there.  But still we have to keep learning.  There are still some things that we need to do better.

Q:  What about this week in Kansas City?

A:  We have to go out there and have a great game plan.  And go and execute it.  We have to play good football.  We can’t turn the ball over.  We have to make the plays.  We have to be effective and avoid the bad plays and the sacks and the miscommunications.  We have to stick to our game plan and hopefully we can go out there and play well.

Q:  Another player in your running attack is banged up – Ahmad Bradshaw.  What are your thoughts about getting a little ‘thin’ back there?

A:  Well, we just have to see what is going to happen on Sunday.  We will go out there and we know that whoever is back there, they will know what to do.  We will be on the same page.  Guys will step up and make plays for us.

Q:  The announcers on TV last week were critical of Brandon’s approach to the game in terms of not being ferocious coming out of the backfield.  What do you see so far?

A:  He has run hard and done everything we have asked him to do. And so I don’t know where it is coming from but I think he is doing a good job and doing everything we are asking him.

Q:  What is your approach when you are 3-0 going up against a team that is 0-3?

A:  It is the same approach every week.  It doesn’t change by what your record is or who you are playing.  You have to go in there and play your best.  We know we have to have a great game plan and we have to be focused, and have a great week of practice and go in there and be ready to play.

Q:  Do you guys look at all, like we do, and think you should be 5-0 after five games?

A:  No. Right now we know we are playing Kansas City. Our only thought right now is how we are going to prepare for this game. Get the game plan, watch the film, see what we need to do and go out there and try to execute that. 

Q:  There are teams around the league that do have letdowns occasionally.  But it seems that you have such a veteran group that has been through so much, I imagine that is not even a concern or something that has to be addressed, right?

A:  Our focus is playing this game and getting ready to play. Today we come in, we get the game plan and we go to work.  I think guys will study and be prepared to play. And we know we have to go in with our best game and our ‘A’ game and to go out there and try to find a win.

Q:  If Ahmad can’t go, how does that change this team’s rushing attack – this team’s offense?

A:  I don’t know.  We will just have to see what happens Sunday.  Hopefully he will be there Sunday.  If not, we will make adjustments and go from there.

Q:  How do you enjoy the part of the job that is more of a mentoring thing with your younger receivers?  How do you kind of find yourself liking that part of the job?

A:  I think as a quarterback you are always in a – not mentoring your guys but you are always going to have to talk to them about what is going on or what you are seeing or what they are seeing and make adjustments.  And just remind them of things.I think they have done a great job communicating with me, listening to what I’m saying, trying to ask questions, understanding and making sure we are on the same page. They have done a good job all season of doing that.

Q:  Does that happen even in a game?  What kinds of things would you throw at each other in a game?

A:  You ask them what technique a guy is playing; if the guy is playing inside or outside or what is going on.  ……back end of a play if I threw to the other side on the sideline – how they played it. Things you can’t always see at the quarterback position – just try to get their insight.

Q:  ……Kind of what they are seeing and how it is able to help you?

A:  Yeah, you have to trust those guys.  If I ask him, ‘were you open on that play?’ you want them to be truthful and as you know, all receivers are open every play.  But you just ask them questions and see what technique that the defense is playing or a corner is playing.  You learn from those guys.

Q:  Do you feel like your leadership style – whatever it is – has changed over your six years in the league?  Has it just evolved, has it been louder, any different, any more forceful, different in any way?

A:  I don’t know. I think I just have been myself. I try to get the team ready, get the players ready, whether it is the offensive line or going over my calls with Shaun or going over checks with receivers and backs. I don’t know if it has changed.  I think I have become more comfortable in the offense and understanding what I expect or talking over the reads with them. And so ….. different in that. But I don’t think I have changed my approach or changed my style of performing or preparing the team. 

Q: From your point of view, where are you and what do you think of the start you have gotten off to?

A:  Obviously we started off with three wins. And that is the goal – to go in and try to win the games that you play.

Q:  You personally?

A:  It is all based on the team. It is all based on how our offense is doing. Yeah, we are doing some really good things. But there are still – I look at it kind of by game and seeing how I played this last game.  I thought I did some good things; I also had some missed opportunities. I had a couple of high throws – two to Kevin Boss that I would have back and things that I can improve on and things that I am working on this week.

Q:  The red zone, is that kind of the obvious fix?  Also scoring more touchdowns?

A:  Yeah, you always like to score more touchdowns. That is just part of the team and being in good situations.  But, yeah, obviously we are getting down there, which is good, but we can also get more touchdowns.

Q:  What happened with the throws to Boss – it just came out a little high?

A:  Yeah, it came out high.

Q:  He has caught so many of those, though, that when it touches his hand …..

A:  No, that was too high. It was a short seven-yard throw and no reason for him to have to jump and go high. So you have to get that down.

Q:  He has shown you over the past three years that he has pretty good hands, right?

A:  Yeah, he has great hands.