QB Eli Manning
Postgame vs. New Orleans, September 16, 2016
Q: Eli, how do you feel about that win offensively even with the mistakes?
A: There was a lot of good. Moved the ball pretty well up and down the field. Had three turnovers that hurt us and not scoring touchdowns down there when we got into the red zone. So a turnover on downs one time. Settled for some field goals. So we have to do a better job at finishing some drives, but I thought we ran the ball okay. Threw the ball for a lot of completions and hit a couple of big plays. Guys stepped up, made some nice plays for us and that's good, but we need to be sharper. That's football. You never know what you’re going to get. Defense did an outstanding job slowing their offense down and obviously special teams getting us a touchdown. So a big win and sometimes in this league it’s not always pretty. It’s not always perfect, but you've got to find ways to win. We were in a position to do that and we made some big time plays in the fourth quarter and on that final drive, a couple of guys made some big time plays to win the game.
Q: Victor Cruz in his first two games back. First he scores the de facto game winning touchdown and now he gets the play that set you guys up for the win. What can you say about his return and development?
A: I think he’s doing a lot of good things. Obviously a huge catch there in the fourth quarter. Caught another one earlier on a second and long that he had along the sidelines. Made some big plays. Also saw a great view of the old Victor Cruz run and catch. It's been a couple of years. Got to remember to hold onto the ball at the end but you know you get used to taking hits and remember guys are right after you. Have to protect the football. So we’ll get that cleaned up, but I thought all the receivers did a great job making plays today.
Q: On the play at the end to Victor, what did you see from the defense that you could focus on and take advantage of?
A: They were playing man to man. Really doubled on Odell’s side with a safety, so they did a pretty good job at taking away Sterling and Odell with the safety on that side. I had Victor one on one and gave him a shot. He did a great job at making a tough catch.
Q: You have three receivers. It's still early in the year. You’re still learning Sterling Shepard and Cruz coming back. The three of them combined for almost 300 yards today. How comfortable are you right now with them and how much higher do you think they will go?
A: There’s still a few things we can honestly clean up and learn from, but a lot of good things. I thought all of them made some tough catches. Sterling made some tough catches in the middle. Some scramble drills. Some timing stuff. We were on time. A lot of good things and we’ll clean up the others. I feel excited about the weapons we have. Not just those three receivers but the tight ends and running backs as well. Offensive line played well and I thought we had good communication. Solved a lot of their looks and gave us an opportunity to make some big plays.
Q: The way last season went, does it give you guys some added confidence that you can finish games?
A: No doubt. These last two games are very similar to the start of last year and obviously the finishes are what the difference is. We are able to find ways to make the plays that we need in crucial moments and a great job of guys making plays and communicating on the sideline. That way we can just take a knee, run out all the clock and kick the field goal right there. Defense was playing great. Giving us stops in crucial moments of the game as well and giving us opportunities to go down there and with plenty of time to go, get the score and win the game.
Q: Eli, coach talked about the leadership was so important to him. Talk about how that veteran leadership has helped this team.
A: We’ve got a good veteran team. You know we’ve got some young guys but the vets and offensive line guys coming into their third, fourth year. At the running back position with Shane and Rashad, we’ve got great leadership there. Odell and Victor kind of lead the way for Sterling and show him how to practice. On the defense, JPP and OV and Landon, those kinds of guys, are coming into their own. A number of quality players are stepping up in those critical moments of the game. Those guys are taking over with leadership and stepping up to make the plays. That's good to see.
Q: Eli, you had a group of guys from the ‘86 squad in today. How important and how cool was it to get a win in front of them.
A: Yeah, obviously the ‘86 team, a great team, a Super Bowl team, a lot of those guys I’ve had an opportunity to meet over the years, so I have a great respect for them and it’s always good to get a tough win in front of those guys.
Q: You mentioned last year you didn't make plays. This year you did. What’s the difference? Is it just confidence? Concentration?
A: Yeah, I think confidence. Having last week with guys stepping up. Defense getting a huge stop. That's big for the offense. That's big for the defense, which is playing fast, now they’re not worried about not losing a game. Now they’re thinking, hey, let's go win this game. They’re thinking we’re going to win it and give it back to the offense. So both sides of the ball did their job to win.
Q: In the past, you've always reflected on passes that you wish you had made. Are there any that stand out to you right now as ones that you wish you hadn’t missed?
A: You know there’s a couple. I think I had Will Tye on the sideline on a bootleg that was too high. With Odell, there was a third and long on the left sideline. I was a little worried about the angle he had but I thought for the most part, I was pretty accurate. Put it in the spot for the guys to make some plays. There will always be some bad reads and some bad mistakes with some things to clean up, but overall I thought it was a pretty clean game.
Q: Does Odell owe you anything for the drop late in the game?
A: He will make it the next time. I’m not worried about that.