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Kevin Gilbride: Eli Manning 'still can grow'

New York Giants offensive coordinator says quarterback Eli Manning "still can grow."

Nick Laham

He's been in the league for nine seasons. He's arguably been the New York Giants' MVP for most of them. He has two Super Bowl MVP trophies and three Pro Bowl appearances on his resume.

But can Eli Manning actually improve?

According to his offensive coordinator, the answer is yes.

While speaking to reporters during mini-camp, Kevin Gilbride said Manning -- like all other top players -- has room to grow as a player. As players battle age, injuries and a potential decline in talent, continual growth and understanding still allows for improvement.

"You have to get better all of the time or you are going the wrong way," Gilbride said. "You have heard it as a cliché, said many times, what I firmly believe and I think that good players all know it, as you physically get older, you have to compensate for that with continued growth with technique, continued growth in the deepening of understanding of what is taking place out there, so that you can compensate for whatever that loss of skill level is.

"So as a receiver, as a running back, as a lineman, if you are not doing that, then pretty soon you are going to be on the bench."

It does not appear as if Manning's talent has diminished just yet.

In 2012, the New York Giants quarterback still managed to throw for nearly 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns, in addition to completing about 60 percent of his passes.

Of course, it may pale in comparison to his stupid-impressive 2011 campaign in which he nearly topped the 5,000-yard mark and found the end zone 29 times.

The biggest knock on Manning -- at least early on in his career -- was his tendency to throw untimely interception. I guess an interception at any time, however, could be considered untimely.

In 2010 Manning threw 25 interceptions. That total decreased to 16 in 2011 and 15 last season.

"Sometimes (Manning) gets antsy trying to make a play, and as always, he will try to push the envelope beyond what it should have been pushed," Gilbride said. "Continuing to make better decisions in terms of recognition of how teams are trying to disguise coverages, doing the little things better in terms of carrying out his fakes.

"He still can grow in terms of understanding what we are looking for as a coaching staff because he is our spokesperson out there. He is our guy, he is our link that has to translate it or say it out on the field. So there is still a lot of room for him to get better. But the best part of about it is that he is going to roll up his sleeves and do everything he can to get that done."

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