QB Eli Manning
December 29, 2014
Q: How difficult is it knowing that the team will not be making the playoffs and you’re saying goodbye to your teammates?
A: It’s never a fun day to know the season is over and you’re not in the playoffs and don’t have a chance to win a championship. It’s disappointing, but it’s a part of football. You have your good years, your bad years and you’ve got to learn from them. I thought the team fought hard. We went through a tough stretch there, but we came out of it and won some games. We were playing better football at the end. It would have been nice to get a win last night, but we didn’t quite pull it off.
Q: What makes you think this team is headed in the right direction?
A: We won some games. Offensively, we made great strides from the beginning of the year where a lot of things were different. The timing from me and the receivers was off. We struggled and yesterday and the last few weeks we were doing some really good things – making big plays and moving the ball. Next year and being in the same offense… if we can come back and start where we are right now and continue to make progress, I think we’re just kind of scratching the surface of where we can get to.
Q: How much more work do you think the offense needs?
A: I think there’s always more work. There’s always things you can improve on with just getting on the same page with the receivers and being perfect in our route running and our precision. I think there’s still more to get better at and that just comes with more practice and more reps of doing the same things over and over again. I feel I had a good feel for the offense at the end of the year and had good ideas and adjustments and getting into good plays and getting out of bad plays. I felt confident, but I still think there is another level to get to more plays, more concepts and there’s definitely room for improvement.
Q: How would you assess your season?
A: I played better than last year. I felt good in the offense. I felt we had opportunities to win a lot of games, but we’ve got to win those games. We’ve got to win some of those close games. There were some moments where I needed to play at a higher level that I didn’t in those crucial moments. I’ve got to play better; the team and the offense has got to play better in those moments to win those games.
Q: Physically, what’s the biggest room for improvement in the offense?
A: We’ve got to run the ball a little bit better as an offense. When we run the ball well, that’s when our offense really starts to click in those games where we’re getting over 100 yards, like the Rams game and Titans game. If we run the ball well, it makes everything click. The passing game… there are still a few concepts we’ve got to get better with, just a little bit more precise with the timing between myself and receivers. We’ve got to get better on a few things. You just need more time to practice those things. Some weeks, you had different routes and different depths. Sometimes we kind of combined the two. It’s not quite the timing, I’m not throwing with quite the confidence that I know exactly what this guy is going to do, where he’s going to be at the exact moment and so it’s just those split second differences or an extra step, or an extra yard makes the difference between a completion… It’s just having that knowledge going into the spring of what it’s supposed to be and working on those things. Last year it was hard for me to work on it with the receivers because I wasn’t quite sure, either. But this year, having that knowledge to be able to work on some things, will be beneficial.
Q: What will you work on in the offseason?
A: Some of those timing routes. I’ll work on my footwork and doing it perfectly and we know the timing of it where you throw hundreds of them where you’re not even thinking about it. It’s coming out at the right time, the receiver is expecting it and they understand the timing of things, I understand the timing of it and so I think we’ll work on those things because those are kind of your base routes that you’re going to run the most and those have got to be automatic.
Q: How much of a need is there for Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. to work together?
A: Getting Victor back healthy… He got injured early in the year. Just to get him back and work on the timing, work on some of the routes to get him back familiar with everything, so we’re on the same page. Having all the receivers back… it’s not just two guys. It’s Rueben, Preston and whoever is going to be here and having everybody back and working on our base stuff will be very important.
Q: Nothing is official but it seems like the front office wants Tom Coughlin back. How pleased are you to hear that?
A: I’m very pleased. He’s been my only coach. We’ve had great success and we’ve had some tough years where we bounced back. I think we’re on the right steps to making that progress, to making that leap from being an average team to being a playoff team.
Q: What stands out to you about Coach Coughlin
A: He loves what he’s doing. He loves the preparation part of it. He gets us prepared to play each game and there’s no doubt about it. We are very well prepared for what to expect and what’s coming. We have great opportunities to make the plays and to execute and we’ve just got to do it. We’ve got to execute better. When you have mistakes or you have holding or blocked punts – those types of mistakes are on the players. That’s the players’ fault. The execution is there … those touchdowns and big plays either happening against us or to have it taken away from us because we didn’t mentally or physically do our job. That means the preparation is there. The plays are there. The opportunities are there and we’ve got to do our job better.