QB Eli Manning
December 16, 2015
Q: Talk about the challenge that’s in front of you guys this week facing the Panthers.
A: They’re good, they’re a good team. Offense is scoring a lot of points, their defense is not letting teams score a lot of points. They’ve got a lot of good players, good scheme. So we’ve got to have a great week of preparation, go out there, and find a way to make some plays.
Q: Coming off Monday night’s game, you have a career best percentage-wise, how does that help you heading into this game and the last three games of the season?
A: Well, we were able to finish a game. I think that was important. We’ve done it sometimes, but haven’t been able to do it enough. We’ve been in a lot of close games and we were able to finish the game strong and have a great fourth quarter and make the comeback to get the lead and then hold onto it. That was good, but hey, it’s a brand new week. It’ll be a new situation and we have to go out there and play great football.
Q: You spread the ball around a lot, three different receivers score touchdowns, but you have that special connection with Odell that continues to keep building. Just talk about that.
A: I think all the guys, all the receivers, tight ends, running backs, everybody played well. I think we’re at our best when we spread the ball around and everybody is in the mix and I’m just going through my progressions and my reads. Guys were getting open, a lot of times first or second guys were getting open on the reads and that’s good, that’s what we need to do. Finally got a couple plays where we got the coverage we wanted and had Odell running the routes, we were able to hit a couple big ones.
Q: You obviously have some experience playing a team that’s undefeated this late in the season. Is there anything different when you look up and see a team that hasn’t lost yet? Do you change your preparation?
A: No, it doesn’t change preparation. A lot of times, you don’t look at the record. Obviously, you know what their record is, but you look at the scheme. So we’re looking at their scheme, their players, their personnel, what they like to do in certain situations and the best way for us to attack it.
Q: You’ve got a lot of young guys in this room, is there any chance that seeing 13-0 could be intimidating for some of them?
A: You’ll have to ask them. I think for us, we’ve got a job to do, we’ve got a game plan to learn, we’ve got to learn the defense, and just go out there and play our game—that’s all we can concern ourselves with.
Q: How difficult are they to prepare for? They’ve got 16 guys who have recorded a sack.
A: They do a good job. They do a good job bringing pressure, different guys, different looks, showing pressure, bailing out, and not giving tips when they are bringing pressure. So they’ve got a good scheme, a lot of guys are rushing. So we’ve just got to make sure we’re on the same page and everybody knows their assignments and knows what to do when they’re bringing pressure and when they’re not bringing pressure.
Q: From what you’ve seen, is this the best team you’ve faced this year? Are they as good as their record would indicate, I guess?
A: Yeah, I think so. Just from a team standpoint, their offense is scoring a lot of points. They run the ball well, they throw it, and then their defense is strong. They do a good job, they do a good job against the run. They get teams in third and long, they get a big lead on teams, so the second half they’re having to throw it. They get a lot of turnovers on defense, so they’ve got a lot of good things going for them.
Q: I know you don’t play the other quarterback, but do you follow what Cam Newton has done down there and how he has progressed in his career?
A: Sure. You keep up with other quarterbacks, but he’s playing at a high level. Obviously throwing a lot of touchdowns, and they run the ball as well. Giving him that mix, he’s making a lot of plays.
Q: What have you noticed about Josh Norman, who some people are crowning the best corner in football right now?
A: Josh, he’s a good player. He’s making plays. He’ll follow the best receiver some. He does a good job in their scheme, knowing his assignments. On one-on-one, he’s making some plays and breaking up a lot of passes.
Q: It will be an interesting matchup with Odell…
A: Sure, yeah. We’ll see what their game plan is and see how they want to try to slow us down. So we’ll have to adjust from there.
Q: You’re a sports fan…you must be aware as the season’s building, “Hey, we’re going to have to play these guys and we understand fans are excited about them being undefeated,” right?
A: Sure, yeah. You have a team that’s undefeated, there’s some excitement, and, ‘Hey, can they finish the season undefeated? Can they be the team to go to the Super Bowl, be undefeated?’ There’s all that, but for us, hey, we’ve got a game plan to learn, we’ve got a scheme to learn from their part. For us, it’s important because it affects our season. We’re playing for a playoff spot and we’re not really concerned with their situation. It’s more our situation that’s driving us.
Q: What do you see with Josh Norman when you look out there and how much do you have to watch where he’s lined up?
A: Hey, I think again, just learning the scheme, knowing what their coverage is, knowing what his technique will be based on the coverage, and just go about my reads. If it’s telling me to go his way, then we’ll go his way.
Q: Everybody talks about Cam’s enthusiasm for the game, and he has kind of reintroduced dancing in the end zone. You’re the same win or lose. He’s clearly very enthusiastic about it. What are some of your thoughts about his approach to the game?
A: Hey, whatever works for you, you know? That’s all I got.
Q: So you’re not polishing up a dance routine?
A: I haven’t. I haven’t polished it up just yet. It’s got more work to do, it’s been in progress for 12 years, but still a little rusty. I haven’t fine-tuned it quite yet.
Q: Saving it for the next rushing touchdown?
A: Just when it’s ready. When it’s ready, I’ll break it out.
Q: A lot of reps?
A: A lot of time in the offseason and Tuesday’s doing it, but it doesn’t feel right yet.
Q: Why do you think this offense sort of suits you well? That was probably one of your best games, at least the numbers say that.
A: I think just when guys are playing fast. I thought we had great tempo and guys were winning their routes. We’ve got to check to some things, when you see certain things, you can kind of get to certain plays that have a chance to be good. Just have good rhythm and good timing. We got into a rhythm early and I thought that was important.