While the New York Giants might say they want a nice, quiet training camp and preseason, things have not been “business as usual” in the lead-up to the 2019 season. That is because for the first time since 2004, the Giants don’t know whether or not Eli Manning will be finishing the season as their starting quarterback. Not only do the Giants have a highly drafted rookie quarterback in Daniel Jones, but Eli Manning is in the last year of his contract.
These are uncharted waters for the Giants.
John Mara spoke to the media for the first time since March on Tuesday and was asked about Eli’s status going forward. He responded that the team hopes to not see Jones on the field and that the team is “year to year” with regards to Eli’s continued employment.
So of course when Eli spoke to the media himself, he was asked about his contract situation.
In typical “Eli” fashion he said, “My mindset is, again, just focus on this year. Have a great year, play well, win football games, and take it from there.”
“I have never been one who is ever concerned or worried about contracts and things like that,” he added. “I figure I won’t start now.”
The make-up of the 2019 Giants
For the second year in a row, the Giants have given themselves a pretty massive face-lift on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. There are new players at almost every position group as the front office has tried to balance out youth with a veteran presence.
“You need your vets to play well and be great leaders.” Eli said of the dynamics between the veteran and young players. “You have to work to get the young guys to step up and eventually help you out. Sometimes you have to go through some of those growing pains with the young guys. Hopefully, we have enough vets that can get us started and get us going, and some of the young guys can eventually fill in their roles and help us out in some ways.”
For his part of the team, Eli is looking forward to an offense that can be explosive or play a ball control offense. It starts with knowing what to do, which will let the offense take advantage of what the defense can’t defend.
Eli said, “I feel like the guys know what we are doing and we should be able to go out there and perform our jobs, move the ball, score points and make some big plays. Whether we are going to make explosive plays or dinking and dunking and moving it down the field, and kind of being able to do it each way. I think that’s the way you have to play football, take what the defense is giving you, make good decisions. Run the ball, play action and convert on third downs.”
The Giants are counting on veteran receiver Golden Tate to help them move the ball, and with his suspension looming, Eli was asked about the new addition.
“Golden is a smart player and he is going to be in the right spot and he has a good feel for the zones,” Eli said, “how to get open versus different techniques and stuff. A veteran guy but also, we have seen a bunch of it with the Giants, his run after catch historically has been very good, a play maker. Hopefully, things work out and he will be here all year.”
Unfortunately, things did not work out in Tate’s favor and his suspension was upheld after Eli’s time with the press.
When it comes to how the revamped defense is coming together, Eli says that the offense has gotten theirs, but the defense has given as good as it has gotten.
“I think every time in training camp, you kind of go back and forth,” Eli said. “Some days the offense has a good day, some days the defense has a good day. That’s football. It just depends sometimes what plays you have called versus coverages. I feel like they are doing a good job and making plays. I feel like they are going to have a good year.”
What makes a season successful?
Circling back to John Mara, who said that he hopes to not see Daniel Jones because that would mean Eli had a good season and the Giants won a lot of games, Eli was asked what he wants for the 2019 season.
“My mindset is to go in, play well, win football games and have a great year. That’s what I’m working towards.”
So what would make for a “great” season? Eli didn’t hesitate to set the bar high.
“It’s making the playoffs to start with, and then making a run in the playoffs,” he said. “Obviously, the goal is to always win a championship, and you can’t do that without making the playoffs. I think the goal is to win the division and go from there.