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New York Giants news, 12/1: “Tough day” for Mike Sullivan, more headlines

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“I just have great respect for Eli Manning as both a player and as a man”

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at New York Giants
Eli Manning and Mike Sullivan talk during a recent game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan has spent longer and worked more closely with Eli Manning than anyone else on the New York Giants. So, the decision this week to start Geno Smith at quarterback was one he took hard.

“Tuesday obviously was a very difficult day. Eleven years – worked closely with Eli (Manning) as a member of this coaching staff, as a receiver coach, quarterback coach, the coordinator and then these past few weeks being able to call the plays for him and so many experiences that we shared together. The highest of highs – a couple Super Bowl trophies. The lowest of lows, you know, I think you could certainly say this season has had its fair share of those. And everything in between and the thing is, through it all, he has been the ultimate professional,” Sullivan said. “He personifies class and humility, toughness, competitiveness. I just have great respect for Eli Manning as both a player and as a man and over that long period of time, we developed quite a bond – a strong bond – and there’s nothing that can take that away or break that bond.”

Here is more of what players were talking about in the locker room on Thursday.

Damon Harrison

Damon Harrsion was a teammate of Geno Smith for three seasons with the New York Jets. Thus, he is filled with mixed emotions about the team’s quarterback switch form Eli Manning to Smith.

“I mean, obviously you feel for Eli (Manning). Eli has done a lot for this franchise. Great teammate. Even better guy. I know he wants to win and my heart goes out to him and you just got to trust what the coaching staff, you know, what their plan is, their vision is. I feel for him,” Harrison said. “It’s bittersweet because like you said, I know Geno. Geno is one of my good friends and I’m excited for him to get an opportunity. It’s just unfortunate that it came at the expense of Eli, but, you know, I’m excited to see Geno as well.”

“Downs and downs”

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is in his 10th NFL season. This one has been unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

“The way this season has been going man, with all the downs and downs. I can’t even call it ups and downs, it’s just been a whole lot of downs. A lot of injuries, a lot of role changes. Nothing can surprise me at this point,” DRC said.

Olivier Vernon: Defensive changes “crazy”

The Giants placed five defensive players on injured reserve this week, adding lots of change to a defense that has already seen significant upheaval this season.

“You know, it’s crazy. When it happens, I was just thinking about it to myself that the defense looks so different and unfortunately with guys getting hurt and everything like that,” Vernon said. “But we’re all professionals and the guys that come in, they learn the playbook and they go out there and play, it’s their job. So, everybody’s got to do what they’ve got to do.”

Does Tom Quinn see what we see?

Kalif Raymond has been a bit of an adventure in his two games as the Giants’ punt returner. A muff, a couple of questionable decisions, an average of only 4.0 yards on four returns. Yet, asked about Raymond special team coordinator Tom Quinn said this:

“There’s been good decisions catching the ball. We haven’t shown much production. That one [against Washington] was kind of a questionable decision, a lot of traffic in front of him, he made the catch and then the second one, he probably had some room to operate, so he probably wants that one back, wants to return that one, the punt return. So, he’s working at it and trying to get better. He’s really into it.”