EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Eli Manning admits the Giants offense has work to do, but he is confident in the system and looks forward to running it on opening night in Detroit.
“I think it’s still trying to get it exactly the way we want it,” Manning said today. “It’s a work in progress. It’s not the final product right now. It’s going to be, the more games, the more plays we get, the more practice…there’s definitely room for improvement and that will be a season-long situation, which is, I think, normal. That’s not a bad thing. I think we have to know what we do well and where we need to make our improvements and be dedicated to being harsh on ourselves to make those improvements.”
>> ELI'S FAVORITE VIDEO GAME? ELI ANSWERS VIA AMA
The Giants last night concluded their 5-0 preseason with a 16-13 home victory over the New England Patriots. In those five games, the starting offense accounted for just three touchdowns, two on sustained drives and one on a 73-yard run by Rashad Jennings.
Manning’s summer consisted of 20 completions in 41 attempts for 188 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.
Those numbers, and those of the entire starting offense, have resulted in criticism by the football media and public. But Manning is bullish on the offense and how far it can take the Giants.
“I think we can score points,” Manning said. “I think we’ve done some things. We haven’t shown everything in the book. We haven’t thrown the ball down the field a whole lot so I think there’s definitely room to score some points and to move the ball and be successful. It’s just a matter of doing it. We’ve got to get the work this week, get with coach (Ben) McAdoo (the offensive coordinator), get the game plan, see what we can do and start watching Detroit and see where are going to be our opportunities to find completions, to take our shots, to convert on third downs; what do we want to do and what do we want to try to accomplish.”
Manning found it easy to find positives in the Giants’ preseason.
“I think we’ve done a good job protecting the ball (none of the team’s three quarterbacks threw an interception),” he said. “In the preseason we’ve won games. They don’t mean anything, but it’s still about playing smart, putting yourself in the position to be in games and making key plays at the right time. Everybody’s trying to do everything perfect, do everything like it is in the book, do everything exactly how they’re being coached, instead of, ‘Hey, we’ve got to play some football. We’ve got to run around and we’ve got to just get back to playing football and making plays.’"
Manning has enjoyed working with McAdoo. At the same time, he has been impressed with the first-time coordinator and play-caller.
“He’s been good,” Manning said. “He’s been good getting the play in quickly, getting it to the quarterback so we can get it in the huddle, get on the line of scrimmage and see everything. If we have to change it to another play, we always have enough time, so I think he’s been decisive, has had a plan and stuck to it and it’s been good."
In his first 10 seasons with the Giants, Manning executed the game plans devised by Kevin Gilbride. So this is a whole new world for him, as well as for McAdoo.
“I’m curious about the whole process with talking to him,” Manning said, “getting his thoughts on the week, on what we want to try to do, what plays we like and what we’re thinking, what we’re going to try to do and just seeing how the week goes from third downs to green zone. I think I have a decent idea about it with training camp and everything going by, but it will be interesting to see how things will flow this week.
“I think coach McAdoo does a good job of asking me and asking all the quarterbacks what they like, what we’re thinking and kind of trying to run those plays first, the plays that we feel the most comfortable with or think is good. We try to do that and I try to, when making those decisions, try to talk to him also, see what he likes. It is his offense in a sense, get a good feel for what he’s thinking going in so we can be on the same page."
That’s exactly where the Giants need to be as they begin preparations for their game against the Lions and what they believe will be a successful start to the season.
“We’re ready for Week 1,” Manning said. “But I think as a season goes on, you’re always looking to improve, whether you’ve been in a system for 10 years or not, whether you have young guys and need guys to step up or you have new players, it’s still, there’s always room for improvement. You don’t want to alarm people and say, ‘We’ve got to get better, we’ve got to keep getting better.’ That’s just part of it. We’re going to keep getting better, but we can still go out there and be successful and do good things and win games but still strive to make improvements within our offense."