Eli Manning knows that the New York Giants had to choose between two paths in the 2018 NFL Draft. The path many expected the Giants to take was to select a quarterback No. 2 overall and begin to move toward a Manning-less sooner rather that later. The path they did choose was to take running back Saquon Barkley second overall and go all in on making whatever time Manning has left with the Giants as successful as possible.
The 37-year-old quarterback, entering his 15th NFL season, understands and appreciates the choice the organization made.
“Taking a running back, I think, showed that they think I can still perform at a high level, lead this team and be a successful quarterback in this league,” Manning said.
Coach Pat Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman have said in the past that players have a “clean slate” with them. Manning said Tuesday he feels like that applies to him, as well.
“When you have a new coaching staff, you get a clean slate. You have to prove to them that you are ready, can get the job done and can be prepared,” Manning said. “I try and get better every day, pick their brain and their mind. Make sure I am doing what they want me to do and what they expect from me. I think that is what you try and do every year. You have to go out there and produce, make plays on Sunday.”
Here are more takeaways from Manning’s media availability on Tuesday.
On the Giants’ new offense ...
“I think it is going really well. I feel comfortable with it, I visualize it. The receivers are cutting fast and know what they are doing. The offensive line is doing a good job. Obviously, we have a couple of new pieces and people in there, especially on the offensive line group. I think they are adjusting and communicating well. Obviously, every day is important. Get a little comfortable and confident every day with the offense and the calls and the adjustments we can make. We are doing some good things but we still have a lot of work to do.”
On what went wrong last season, when the Giants went 3-13 ...
“We lost some tough games early on and hit the injury bug. It was tough after that. Last year was tough. This game can definitely humble you. Nothing is guaranteed. The year before doesn’t mean anything from the next year. It can go from good to bad and bad to good very quickly. It is just a matter of the team buying in, everyone playing, everyone doing their job and finding ways to win football games. That is the difference between a good year and a bad year a lot of times.”
On the remarks by Shaun O’Hara and Justin Tuck that the Giants have “wasted” Manning’s prime ...
“I don’t agree with that. I appreciate them. They are close friends of mine and we won a few championships together. I appreciate their loyalty and support but I wouldn’t necessarily agree with their comments.
On the progress of the revamped offensive line ...
“It seems like a great group. They get along well. They eat lunch a lot together and are big character guys. It is important to them. It seems that they can have fun and enjoy being around each other. Just the work that goes into it. They take great pride in their craft and in communicating. That’s a good thing, I like that. Now it is just a matter of everyone coming together and being on the same page as I am making calls and making sure that we are all seeing things the same way so they can move fast and do our assignments.”