Manning: ‘I feel like I am in good shape and have all the things I need to go out there and play well’

Giants quarterback Eli Manning will return for his 16th season with the team. Over the years, Manning has had a lot of success in New York, including two Super Bowl titles. However, that was then; this is now. The past two seasons, Manning has struggled, and the Giants have struggled. Those struggles led to the Giants drafting QB Daniel Jones with the sixth pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

If all goes well for the Giants, Jones does not see the field in 2019. If all goes bad, expect to see a lot of Jones next season.

Today, Manning addressed the media as the Giants begin OTAs.

Here is what he had to say:

Q: How’s it feel to be back?

Manning: It feels good. I have been back for a month or so. It feels good to get back on the field and have some live action. The defense is running around and everything looks good on air, but then you get a defense, you have to move around and you get a live rush. People are running around and you have to get back in the flow of things, make decisions and when things aren’t perfect, you have to keep working on them. That is the way it should be.

Q: What is your first impression of Daniel Jones?

Manning:: He throws it well. Is a good kid and is trying to pick up the offense. He has only been here for two weeks. There is a lot going on right now. He is trying to learn the offense, footwork and protections. We have all been there and been rookies that have learned it. He has the right attitude.

Q: Can you take us through your draft night?

Manning:: Not too exciting. I just watched it. Got the word from Mr. Gettleman and coach Shurmur that they were going to draft him.

Q: What did you think?

Manning:: You knew it was a possibility that they were going to take a quarterback.

Q: Do you feel a different type of pressure to protect your job?

Manning:: No. I think there is always an urgency to win. Your job is to go out there and find ways to get that accomplished. Play good football and be a good leader and teammate. I don’t think anything changes.

Q: How much added responsibility is there to do all of those things and also mentor Daniel Jones along?

Manning:: No added responsibility. The quarterback room is the same no matter who is in it. You are always willing to help and talk football. Teach the guys that are willing to be helped. Everyday we are going to sit there and watch film and practice with the coaches and a lot of times just with the quarterbacks before the coaches get in there. You don’t just watch your own reps, you go through everyone’s reps. You talk about the decisions and protections that could’ve been done better and what it is like to make decisions. I think it is always everyone helping everyone out in the room.

Q: How much do you view yourself as a mentor?

Manning: I think I have been doing that for the last 11 or 12 years. I don’t know exactly when you become a mentor, but when you’ve been in the league longer than any other guy in the room, you should be a mentor in that sense where you know a little bit more. Again, it is not necessarily your job to do it. You are in the quarterback room with all the other quarterbacks and you are talking, everyone is mentoring everyone. If you aren’t in there, then you can’t be a mentor or mentored. It is a little bit on Daniel to be in there asking questions and everyone willing to help out in those situations.

Q: Did you know more about Daniel through coach Cutcliffe?

Manning: I think it’s the same with anyone. All the quarterbacks, it is important to have a good relationship with those guys. I feel like I have with all the guys I have been with in the past. I am willing to help out and am willing to talk football. A lot of it is just helping out and going over things. Just answering questions. It helps me. If you can teach it, you know it. If someone is asking why you make calls and why you make a read and you can explain it, talk x’s and o’s, then you know it and you can go out there and perform.

Q: What exactly did coach Cutcliffe say?

Manning: I haven’t talked to him specifically since Daniel has been drafted, but just over the years, I have been around Daniel and have been going to Duke. I have been around him and saw him. Watched their games over the years and have become a Duke fan because of Coach Cutt. I have seen him play well.

Q: There have been comparisons with him to you and your brother. Do you see any of that?

Manning: It is tough to say. I am not looking to compare him to Peyton or myself. He obviously played in a very similar offense to what me and Peyton played in. He has been here two weeks. Today is the first practice against the defense, so there is a lot to learn.

Q: How do you feel?

Manning: I feel great. Worked hard this offseason to stay in shape and continued to work on trying to stay young, mobile, strong and healthy. I feel like I am in good shape and have all the things I need to go out there and play well.

Q: What is the offense like without Odell?

Manning: Everyone has to go out and do their jobs. It doesn’t change. Last two years we played a decent number of games without him. End of last year, we played the last four or five games without him. We just got a lot of playmakers. Everyone has to do your job, make plays, win matchups and we will be fine.

Q: How much longer do you want to play?

Manning: I haven’t thought about it. I want to play this year.

Q: You haven’t thought about that?

Manning: I don’t think I have ever put a timeframe on how long. You will know when it is time to stop based off the circumstances and how your body is feeling.

Q: Do you approach the season that you are the quarterback of the New York Giants and you want to stay that as long as possible?

Manning: I don’t know if that is exactly it. I understand that I am the quarterback on the Giants and it is my responsibility to go out there and do my job to the best of my ability. I want to be in this position and be the quarterback. I want to go win games and have a great year.

Q: How do you get past the awkwardness and conflict that comes with knowing the team drafted a guy that is looking to be the starting quarterback?

Manning: No awkwardness in our room.

Q: How do you avoid that?

Manning: Don’t create it. It is not there. Don’t make something that is not there. It doesn’t bother me. It is not about being nervous or worried. I am treating it the same that it has been the last 15 years. Whoever is in the quarterback room, talk football. If someone is confused about something or not sure about something, we have a great communication system and a relationship.

Q: Is there any dynamic to the team bringing in a young guy that will make you try harder?

Manning: I don’t think so. I feel like I have always tried hard and worked hard. I have done everything possible to be in a position to be successful. I don’t think this has changed that. I understand the circumstances that I am in and sure, I need to play well and play well early. Just do my job. You want to do that. You have to be careful not to press and do too much when things aren’t there and force things. Just have to play to the best of my ability and make good decisions. Lead this team to wins.

Q: Will it help being in the second year of this offense?

Manning: Definitely. Guys get lined up and are playing fast. They know what to do. They know plays, adjustments and different things. Just a few new spots here and there at receiver or offensive line. For the most part, a lot of the base guys are returning. They have that second year and will be able to play fast. It is just not thinking as much early on. It should help out on both sides of the ball.

Q: How do you feel about the offensive line?

Manning: Feel good about that group. They have worked hard and we have added a few pieces that have worked. They will do their part and their job very well. It should help everyone else also.

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