QB Eli Manning
November 29, 2016
Q: Over the last many years, the Steelers have been known for having multiple fronts and different kinds of blitz packages. I saw they have nine different guys with sacks. Are they still very multiple up front? How difficult is that to decipher?
A: Yes, they are. They show a lot of different looks up front. A lot of different linebackers and guys that can rush the passer. They blitz a number of different guys. They are very multiple and do a good job at disguising. They do a good job a lot of times only bringing four guys. Different guys and all their defensive ends and linebackers in their base defense. They can all play base defense. They do a good job with their blitz packages. We have to have great communication this week.
Q: It also looks like at this point theyíve done a pretty good job at stifling peopleís running game to make them one-dimensional. How much more aware do you have to be of that?
A: Well, we have to run the ball. Weíve been better these last few weeks. I think three weeks of over a hundred yards in a row. We just have to continue to get positive yards in the run game and stay with it. Eventually weíll break some big ones. Stay strong and keep running the ball well. Thatíll help everything else from the play action and will slow down their pass rush.
Q: Do you get any enjoyment out of playing Ben Roethlisberger just because youíre both in the same draft class?
A: Itís always fun to go against good offenses. With Ben and the Steelers, you know their offense can score points. We have to be good offensively. We have to do our part and keep up. You always keep up with your draft class with Ben and Philip Rivers. Donít get to play against them a whole lot with them being in the AFC. Every four years you get to play one of them. I enjoy these matchups, get to see him a little bit. Heís had an unbelievable career.
Q: Do you have a friendship with Ben? Do you talk to him ever being from the same draft class?
A: Just really talk to him after the games when we play. I think you always have a special connection and bond with your draft class guys. I think youíre always rooting for your guys to do well. You always want your quarterback draft class to be well thought of and respected down the road. You hear about the í83 draft class and other certain years. You want to be thrown in that mix someday. Besides that, havenít seen him a whole lot outside of football. Our paths havenít crossed that much. I have a lot of respect for him and his game.
Q: It appears by the numbers over the last few weeks their secondary has tightened up significantly from what it was earlier in the season. Have you seen the difference in growth in the secondary?
A: Iím still breaking down some film. Seeing the last couple of games, theyíve done a good job. They did a good job against Indianapolis and the Browns. Theyíre doing a good job getting a pass rush, which always helps out the pass defense and getting sacks. We have to make sure we block things up. Hopefully have some opportunities to get our receivers one-on-one. We have to win those matchups. It should be a good contest.
Q: James Harrison, no matter how old he gets, he still seems to be making some plays. How much do you have to be aware of him?
A: I donít call anyone old because I think weíre about the same age. Heís got sacks, caused fumbles, interceptions. It seems like heís on a little bit of a pitch count. Heís not in there but maybe 25, 30 plays a game. When heís in there, heís effective. He does a good job rushing the quarterback, dropping in coverage and you have to be aware of him.
Q: Do you have to do anything to get Sterling Shepardís confidence up after a game that he didnít have a catch?
A: No. I talked to him. I apologized for not getting him a catch. We need to get him the ball and get him catches. Thatís just the way the day kind of went. Heís done a good job all year and we have to get him involved in the offense.
Q: Why do you think Sunday was different for him?
A: Itís just all based on coverage. What we were trying to do and the coverages that we were getting, we had other guys that were the primary. We just didnít get it down to him. Had a couple of opportunities that we couldíve possibly got him the ball.
Q: Did that other old quarterback (Peyton Manning) give you any advice at practice today?
A: It was good to have him here. I hadnít seen him in a while. He has something to do tomorrow so he popped in and sat in on a few meetings with us today. Just good to catch up. Iíll get some time with him later on.
Q: Is he ever going to get into coaching?
A: Youíd have to ask him. Iím not sure.
Q: When you see him like that, how does it look like retirement is treating him?
A: I think heís doing well. He seems to be staying busy and enjoying the down time. I think when he gets in this environment, he was kind of drilling the coaches his own questions. I know he liked being in there and doing a little install on Pittsburgh. Iím sure he misses that environment. Just the game plan, how youíre going to do things, how youíre going to deal with protections, how youíre going to pick things up. Just really getting back into that flow of things, Iím sure, is a little reminder of how special it is to be in this situation.
Q: Is this a game that you know you have to score because theyíre going to score?
A: I think every game you know you have to score. We have our expectations of what we want to do and how we want to score. We feel we can score. Weíve been good the last few weeks protecting the ball, thatís number one. Itís not about forcing things trying to score. We have to execute well, play smart and make the plays that are there.
Q: The fact that the offense still hasnít clicked 11 games in, have you been able to identify the reason for that?
A: Weíve clicked at times. Weíre just a few plays away. You score 21, itís not like we scored 10. Weíre just not getting down in the red zone enough. Thatís the deal. Last week, had a couple of opportunities to throw some balls down the field and really only hit one of them. One of six. If you hit another two of those, youíre down there in the red zone and scoring more points. Itís just a matter of it could be a play or two thatís a difference in whether youíre scoring enough points and getting down there in the red zone enough.
Q: Do you think you guys think youíre mixing things up enough personnel wise to keep defenses off balance?
A: Itís kind of what we have. We donít have a fullback. We got into some two-tight end stuff last week. Had a few plays of it. Weíre going to stay with that personnel and be really good at it. Thatís what weíre doing.