QB Eli Manning -- July 24, 2019
Q: So, year number 16?
A: Yeah, Iím excited about it. I feel blessed, feel fortunate to still be doing this and playing football and coming to training camp, being around these teammates and these guys and the New York Giants. Excited, excited about the opportunities, excited about this team and getting to work. Making improvements and getting better and seeing what this season has in store for us.
Q: Does that number mean anything to you, just in terms of nobody has ever played a 16th season for the Giants?
A: No, not in that sense. I never got worried about playing a certain amount of years or this or that. Itís just all about taking advantage of this year. Making something special with this year, this team, this season.
Q: How different does it feel?
A: It feels the same. In the sense that every training camp you come in excited, whether you had a great year the year before or a bad year, it doesnít really matter. Itís a clean slate, itís a fresh start. Youíre going to have new teams, youíre going to have new players. Sometimes new coaches in different areas and even the players that you have returning, a lot of it, itís young guys who now are a year older, they are a little better and so itís always going to be a new experience. Just excited to take advantage of the opportunities in front of us this season.
Q: As an offense, how do you elevate past what the last couple of years have been like?
A: Itís all about this year and obviously we want to win more football games. We want to get off to a faster start and I think with the second year within an offense with a new coach and new staff, it should be smoother in that sense, but we have to work at it. We have to work extremely hard to make those improvements to make those jumps that we need to make to win those football games. I think just having a number of guys who are returning and the additions that we made and the players that we have, that opportunity is there for us to make that jump. Itís a matter of how hard we work, how committed we are during this next month to get us ready.
Q: Do you pay attention to the term ďquarterback competitionĒ, and if so, how do you deal with it?
A: I think you deal with it in, hey, I have a job to go out there and do my best. It hasnít changed for 16 years and it never will. You go out there and youíre competing against the defense. Whenever Iím up, Iím competing against the defense and Iím trying to get our players to play our best and make plays. Thatís the mindset, you want to try and make improvements in practice, have goals to get better at certain things every day and make those strides of improvement at every practice. Thatís the mindset that you concern yourself with.
Q: Would you say there was more uncertainty this offseason about you standing here for a 16th year than you have ever felt before?
A: I canít make that call, I guess, necessarily. Iím happy to be here and Iím blessed. Excited to be here and standing here today and playing for the New York Giants.
Q: You have talked about appreciation, is there maybe an uptick in that?
A: I think itís more the longevity of things. You have more appreciation, you donít know how long you get to play this or how long you get to do it. I think you are here and that you donít know what the future holds. I think when youíre younger, you assume youíre going to keep playing, you just assume you will be back playing and you donít think about it. Now there is that mindset that you donít know the future of things, which is fine. I think it makes you appreciate being here and wanting to take advantage and prepare more and be ready to take advantage of this opportunity.
Q: When you came in your rookie year, there were a lot of big personalities. How did you handle that your rookie year? And how have you seen Daniel Jones handle that?
A: I think my rookie year my goal was to come in and earn the respect of your teammates, I think thatís very important, thatís my mindset as a high draft pick and quarterback. When you have Tiki and Michael Strahan and also just veteran receivers in Ike Hilliard and Amani Toomer. Guys who have been in Super Bowls and been to Pro Bowls. It takes a while before you can tell them, Ďhey I think you have to run this route a little deeper.í I didnít know exactly what their route was, exact distances, or I thought I did but you have to get hit a few times, you have to work hard, you have to make plays, you have to earn the respect that you are putting in the effort, you are putting in the work and the same commitment they have been doing the last 10 years before you can talk to them. That was the mindset. I think Daniel has done a good job of that, kind of head down, work hard, do everything you are told to do and try to earn the respect of your teammates.
Q: As you come in here, do you have to work harder to be ready now that youíre 38, or is it simply you know what to do and you are ready?
A: Itís just a different working hard. When youíre younger, youíre working hard on the mental aspect of things. Hey, I have to learn these protections, I have to learn these blitzes, I have to learn what call I have to make to pick up this blitz. Whatís this play? You know that stuff that over 16 years you get to learn those things and you have a better feel for picking up a blitz and what call you are going to make to pick up certain things. Now, itís the work on the maintenance and the stretching and getting loose. Keeping the arm strength and keeping the strength and those things. Keeping the body fresh every day. Its more work at that as you get older. The hard work never changes it just kind changes what areas you are working hard at.
Q: What was your personal use of the six weeks getting ready for your 16th season?
A: Just staying strong. I thought I had a good offseason in the weight room. Getting the body feeling good, keep it where it was, or make improvements in that sense. From the weight room, from the conditioning, throwing and keeping the arm strong and getting it prepared. Training camp is a time where I think your arm gets tested more than any other time. Where you have four practices in a row or youíre going to have eight practices in nine days. Youíre not really used to doing that and so you kind of want to make sure you are not taking too much time off and you have to make sure you are throwing enough to keep your arm strong enough to handle that amount. Doing all those things, but also you take the time to be with the family and to be away and enjoy the summer a little bit because you know once the day comes, itís football. Itís football for the next six months, so thatís the mindset and being ready to get accomplished everything you want in the summer off your list so you can worry about your football goals.
Q: Does your arm feel as strong as it was 10 years ago? Have you made modifications to how you throw the ball?
A: I donít think I have changed the way I throw the ball. Just taking more concern into arm maintenance and arm strength and stretching, keeping the muscles around the shoulder and the rotator cuff all stronger and maintenance work for the warm up, for the cool down, for everything involved. I still feel my arm is very strong, can make all the throws, can get it out there, can make the long throws, the deep throws. I donít feel like I need to adjust or change my game in any way.
Q: Is your hunger to win the same as when you first walked in here?
A: Yeah, 100 percent, thatís what itís all about. First and foremost, Iím a competitor. I love to win, I love to succeed and do my best. Have great games, great practices, to win, to have that feeling in the locker room. Thatís what drives you, to create that feeling in the locker room. I feel like we have a good squad, a good character of guys, a good talent of players. All the guys are hungry to do something special this season.
Q: Whatís your balance between reflecting on what you have done, winning Super Bowls, and knowing your career is still going?
A: I try not to reflect much. Itís all about what I can do this year and do right now. I think about the players we have on this team. I want those guys to experience some of the success that weíve had here at the Giants in the past. To make playoffs and win championships and get on win streaks. To feel like you are playing better than anybody else in the league at that moment. Those are fun and great memories, but Iím not reflecting on those. I want these guys who maybe havenít had that to experience that.