Eli: ‘I’m trying to go out there, play hard, compete, and try to get a win for the team’

For 11 weeks, Giants backup QB Eli Manning has watched from sidelines, but with rookie QB Daniel Jones dealing with a high ankle sprain, Manning might make his return on Monday night as the Giants(2-10) travel to Philadelphia to battle the Eagles(5-7).

Jones injured his ankle in the Giants’ 31-13 loss to the Packers last Sunday.

“At this point, Daniel hasn’t been able to practice today,” Shurmur said on Wednesday. “If we had to play tomorrow, he couldn’t play. As the week goes on, it’ll be more and more evident that he’s not going to be ready to go. As we practice, Eli takes all the reps, and then we move on.”

The 38-year-old Manning has not played since Week 2 after Jones was named the starter in Week 3. 

Today, Manning addressed the media.

Here is what he had to say:

Q: When did you hear the news and how were you told?

Manning: I knew Daniel was dealing with an injury, I didn’t know the severity since he finished the game. I talked to the coaches yesterday and they said he probably wasn’t going to practice today and they didn’t know the circumstances, so (they told me) just be ready to practice this week. We’ll see where it goes for Monday night.

Q: What have the last 10 or 11 weeks been like for you?

Manning: A little different trying to adjust to it and always be prepared to go. Try to get Daniel as prepared as possible each week. I faced a lot of the teams that we have been playing and just look through old notes and tips on trying to diagnose defenses. Also trying to get myself ready to play each week.

Q: Emotionally, what is it like for you to come back and play?

Manning: We’ll see what happens Monday, but business as usual. In the sense of you get the game plan, start prepping for Philly. (We’re) going against a good defense we ‘ve faced a number of years, (we) know them well. Just have to get back in the mix with the offensive line and receivers, make sure timing is where it needs to be.

Q: What’s been the toughest part of these last 11 weeks for you?

Manning: Not playing in the games. You miss being a part of the action and practicing and all that. Felt good to get out there today and throw it around and compete a little bit.

Q: Did you think you had played your last time for the Giants? Had you thought about playing in a game late in the season when Daniel wasn’t playing?

Manning: No, just taking it one week at a time. You never know what can happen and always be ready.

Q: Has this impacted anything about your future plans?

Manning: Again, just take it one game at a time. You never want to try to make decisions about your future while you’re still living in the present and don’t know the circumstances of what could happen. Just have to go out there and try to get a win for the Giants if I’m asked to do that. I’ll analyze everything else after the season.

Q: How do you feel physically, you haven’t been hit for a couple months?

Manning: Physically I feel good. I’ve had time to get extra workouts and do those things just to stay in shape, so you’re not banged up. I feel fresh and ready to go.

Q: Do you feel like you can be sharp? It has been a while…

Manning: Yeah, you’re still practicing, you’re still out there. Sometimes you’re running other people’s plays but you’re still throwing it, hitting guys in stride and trying to throw it accurately and doing all of the drills. Hope to get back there and be sharp.

Q: How much do you think this can serve as a showcase for next year for you?

Manning: I’m not worried about that. I’m trying to go out there, play hard, compete, and try to get a win for the team. The team is obviously going on a long stretch. Guys are working hard and doing everything right and deserve to feel good about the work that we’re putting in.

Q: What has been your impression of Daniel (Jones) as you’ve watched him play?

Manning: Daniel is competing and learning. He makes a lot of great plays and I think he’s doing everything to get prepared and make progress each week. I’ve just been impressed with his work ethic and the dedication he has put towards getting ready to play each week.

Q: Pat Shurmur said you were, ‘eager.’ How eager are you to play?

Manning: I think you’re always eager to play, that’s why you play. That’s why you compete, and you work out and do everything— to go out there and compete on gameday and get wins and put your team in a situation to win. I think when you’re not doing that you miss it, and you’re excited about the competitive part of it.

Q: Year after year, you’ve heard backups here talk about, ‘We have to be ready, I know I’m not starting but we have to be ready to play.’ You weren’t on the other side of that. How hard is that now that you’ve lived through that for two months?

Manning: Yeah, I mean it is difficult. Especially when you’ve been the starter for so long and you’re not really accustomed to preparing and preparing and not putting it to use, in that sense. I think just having a lot of experience and knowing the offense and knowing I can pop in there and be ready to go at any time.

Q: Obviously a lot has happened since we last spoke to you. What was the trade deadline like for you? Was there any discussion of possibly going anywhere else?

 Manning: No, I don’t think so. That was a long time ago, I can’t think that far back.

Q: How wild is it the fact that you spent 15 years and took every single snap and here’s a kid in his first year and he ends up getting an injury. Does it make you feel that much more fortunate that you were able to play for such a long period of time without getting hurt?

Manning: Well, you had injuries and stuff and you just try to fight through things and get ready. I think Daniel wants to play, I think he’s going to do everything possible to get back and rehab. He’s a young kid, so I’m sure he’ll bounce back quickly. I’m sure the staff and everybody wants to be…they don’t want to take something that can be somewhat minor and turn it into something that’s a bigger deal down the line.

Q: Did you have any conversations with the Giants prior to today about wanting to play at least one more game in a Giants uniform?

Manning: No, never. It never came up.

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