The 2018 New York Giants were all, finally, in the same building together on Wednesday. And while their first full team practice won’t be until Thursday, veteran players and coaches still took the time to speak to the media.
Quarterback Eli Manning was one of the players to speak, and as the cornerstone of the Giants franchise, everyone wanted to hear his thoughts on the new coaches, the new offense, and the collection of exciting skill position players around him.
Eli talks skill positions
“Yeah, you know, I am,” Eli said, when asked if he was excited about the offense being built around him. “I’m excited about this team and the opportunities we have ahead of us, excited about the guys who are on this offense and the receivers, the offensive line, the playmakers that we have, the running backs. So I look forward to getting to work and making sure we got – you know, there are some good names on paper, that looks good, but we’ve got to make sure we’re doing what we need to be doing on the field.”
On Odell Beckham Jr. ...
Obviously he’s a talent. He’s unbelievably talented, he’s great in practice and in games, so just having him back, he brings an energy and excitement to the offense and that ability. You never know when he can make a big play, and turn a short pass into a big gain or a touchdown, so it’ll be great. We missed a lot of time in the spring and a new offense is getting him back just running all the plays, running the new routes, the new schemes, and getting him up to speed, but obviously to throw him into the mix with the other athletes and playmakers we have, it’s exciting.
On Sterling Shepard ...
I thought Sterling had a great spring. He obviously the last couple years has been primarily in the slot. I thought this spring it was great for him just to get some work on the outside, I think that’s kind of one of the advantages and good things about not having Odell here for the spring is that Sterling got to work a lot more on the outside and get some reps there. I think that will be helpful for him just to kind of learn that outside position. He didn’t do much of that in college either, so some of it is new, but made some good plays out there and I think feels more comfortable out there and so, same thing, I think we’ll be able to move him in different spots, move Odell in different spots, move Evan in different spots, you can get a lot of information and the more of those guys that can line up in different places, the more strength you put on defenses and the better we can be. I think Sterling, again, has great work ethic, he’s a playmaker, it’s exciting, he’s fast-twitch, and he can make some big plays for us.
On Evan Engram ...
I think Evan had a good first year, but I think there is definitely room for him to grow and that second year just having, coming in, being comfortable with everything that he’s expected to do and just schemes, the competition and what teams are doing, but I think we’ll be able to move him around in different spots, try to get him matched up, and I think he gives you a mismatch opportunity that you have to take advantage of and try to put him in different spots where he can be successful. I think he’s excited about what’s ahead of him, and I think he’s primed for a good year.
On Saquon Barkley ...
Well, I’ve been impressed with Saquon just with his professionalism right off the get-go. I think he’s done a good job coming in, studying the playbook, knowing his stuff, having questions, being dialed in to everything that he’s supposed to be doing. I’ve been impressed with him in that situation, and also just obviously his on-the-field stuff is impressive. He’s made plays, and no pads on or anything yet, but just catching the football, being an athlete, and then excited to get some pads on and see what he can do.
On life with Pat Shurmur
Finally, this training camp marks will be Eli’s third in four years with a different head coach. That means a third personality and philosophy to get used to, but Eli believes that they are off to a good start and are getting in sync.
“Yeah,” Eli said, “I mean I think we’ve both been around a lot of football. I think we see things very similar. I think when he talks about concepts he wants to get to or things he likes for certain coverages for defenses, it makes sense.”
“He’s [coach Shurmur] also willing to listen to ideas and talk football and kind of talk about things we’ve had success with in the past, and kind of be willing to try those things. So, I think he’s been very open but also has his way of doing things and his philosophies that again make sense to me, and things we’ve done in the past as well, so I think we’ve been on the same page and look forward to just keep talking to him, keep being around him, and Coach Shula. You know, every day for practice going against our defense, there will be things you can learn from, different ideas we can get to prepare us for the season.”