QB Eli Manning
January 9, 2017
Q: Would you say this game was just missed opportunities?
A: Yes. Obviously, I thought we did some good things. We had some opportunities to score touchdowns, make some plays, convert third downs. When you have an opportunity to jump on a team and build a lead, we have to do it. We let them off the hook a few times. They got hot in the late third quarter and into the fourth quarter. At that point, it was too late. We couldnít make up the damage.
Q: How much do those missed opportunities go through your mind after a loss like this?
A: Weíll see. Obviously theyíre still right there. This one hurts when you look back and see that we had some chances. We had a good plan and had good plays called at the right time to take advantage of what theyíre doing. We just couldnít make the throw, catch or block. Just too many, not mistakes, but didnít make the plays at the right times.
Q: How close was the offense to really having the type of game that it felt it was capable of having this year?
A: I thought we were close. I thought teams werenít giving us a whole lot of opportunities to get the ball down the field. They gave us a few and we had the right calls at the right times to possibly hit some. We took them. We had an opportunity to hit big plays. Hit the one post but had an opportunity to hit other go routes that were touchdowns that we didnít make and some third down conversions. Stuff that was the difference in points. The points left out there. You have to make those plays in the playoffs.
Q: What grade would you give yourself this year?
A: Iíll let coaches grade me or let you grade me. I donít worry about that. Did some good stuff. It was tough. It was tough offensively the way teams were playing to run our offense as efficient as we wanted to. Kind of hung in there and did some good things. We have to protect the ball better. You win 11 games, youíre doing something right, but we didnít score enough points offensively. Weíll have to look back and see how we can improve.
Q: Whatís the mood swing like for you?
A: Itís tough. I donít know if itís truly sank in yet. Itíll probably hit more tonight when you wake up knowing that you donít have anything to do tomorrow. Thatís the first time that itís happened since July. Even at that point, kind of training and getting ready. Itís difficult but Iíll manage. Iíve done it before. Iíll take a little time to reflect on this season and look at things I need to improve on and start working on for next year. Get back to it.
Q: What did you think of Odell punching the hole in the wall?
A: I donít know anything about it. Iíve seen some reports but I didnít see the hole or him do it. I really donít know anything about it.
Q: Do you feel you have enough this year to get that offense over the hump for next year?
A: Yes. I thought we did some good things offensively. We have guys that have been here in this system for a number of years that know what theyíre doing. Have some young guys that did some good things for us that will continue to grow and get better. I think we have a good core of people to be an explosive and top offense. Some guys have to play better and some guys have to step up. I have to get better and play better. I think weíre at a good position but need to improve as well.
Q: Do you need to do anything different in the offseason to reach your goal and play better?
A: I think Iíve handled a lot of offseason well in improving. Just getting stronger and keeping my arm strength where it needs to be. I thought my arm strength is good. I still can make the deep throws and make all the throws. At my age, I canít relax. I have to work harder than ever just to stay where I am.
Q: Do you have any lingering concerns about Odell?
A: I donít have concerns. I think Odell is passionate. Heís passionate and he wants to win. This was important for him. He wanted to go out there and have the best game of his career. Maybe he put too much pressure on himself and emphasis. Unfortunately, going to the playoffs is different. Itís different for everyone. We didnít have a lot of people that have been to the playoffs. You hate to say that itís a learning experience for a group. I hate to say that when Iím in my 13th year, but sometimes guys just have to go through it and see what itís like. Understand that they canít make it bigger than what it is. You have to have a calm mindset and just go out there and play football. Be relaxed and bring out your best. Donít try to play your best, you just have to trust the training and just go do it. I think Odell is going to be fine. Heís learning every year and this is another learning experience for him.
Q: Is it unfortunate that the last narrative is going to be the trip that they took?
A: Yes. You just have to learn the perception of things makes it different. If you do things, you have to back it up. I donít think it had an impact on the game. I thought we had a great week of practice. Guys were making plays and running around. It was intense, focused and everything good. Unfortunately, we just didnít have it yesterday.
Q: Datone Jones said that he thinks the stage was too big for Odell. What do you think about that?
A: I canít comment on what everyone else has to say. I donít think his opinion has anything to do with it.
Q: Did you talk to them about having to back it up and why it wasnít the best idea?
A: No. At the time, obviously you want to try and make a joke of it. Donít make it a distraction. Weíre about to go play a playoff game so you want everyone feeling good and right. I thought we handled it the proper way to get the best out of our guys.
Q: Weíve seen people get to the Super Bowl one year and not get there the next. How do you work it so this team knows it has to build off of this?
A: I think you canít forget the feeling that weíre having right now and the feeling that we had last night. You have to understand that you canít just think itís going to happen again and youíre going to make the playoffs again because itís hard. You have to win close games and you have to catch breaks. A lot of things have to go your way. That comes from the commitment to get better. I truly believe that when you have a nucleolus of guys that start their training early that theyíre going to get better and work hard. Just truly commit and sacrifice for the better of the team. Those are teams that find a way to win games. I thought our guys were committed to getting better last year. Thatís how you win close games. We didnít win in the end but I donít think it was a lack of commitment. We have to stay, keep that hunger and commitment and make improvements.