He's the Mann
AP Photo - L.M. Otero
AP Photo - L.M. Otero
Giants Insider
Posted Jan 2, 2008


No one has more pressure on his shoulders heading into the playoffs than Giants QB Eli Manning, who's coming off a rollercoaster regular season. Here's what Manning had to say to a throng of reporters Wednesday afternoon.

Q: What stands out about the Bucs’ defense?

A: They are a very good defense. There aren’t many teams getting big plays on them. They are pretty good at stopping the run. Their pass rush is very good. Without doing much blitzing, using their front four, they get good pressure on the quarterback. When you do get pressure on the quarterback it is just four guys and it makes their secondary a lot better. You can’t hold the ball long. They are veteran guys who like to cheat and jump things and are not always in their right positions. But if the quarterback can’t hold it long, they can do that and get away with it and make plays. They are a very talented team. They are a team where you can’t make mistakes. You have to play smart football. You have to take what they give you and just try to move the ball down the field. Teams don’t get a whole lot of big plays down the field. And so you just have to be smart and take what they give you.

Q: What would it mean to have a playoff win on your resume?

A: That is what we are fighting for. I’m not looking for my resume. I’m looking for the Giants and taking this as far as we can and it starts on Sunday at Tampa against a good team.

Q: Would you say your level of intensity versus the Patriots was the highest of the season so far?

A: I think we bring the same intensity every week. I don’t think we play any harder or practice harder for a certain game or a certain week. I think we do the same thing every time. We just executed our game plan on Saturday pretty well from an offensive standpoint. We did a lot of good things. We had a lot of plays and fought hard. But it is going to take more than --- obviously last week we didn’t win. We played well but we didn’t win the game so now it is not a matter of just playing well and competing hard; it is a matter of winning the game.

Q: Have you noticed a difference between regular season and playoff games? Has your experience helped you?

A: Like you say, it is different, but I don’t know if it is a whole lot different. The players, I think, play just as hard for a regular season game as a playoff game. I don’t think it is fair to say that you prepare more or you study harder. Every game, from my point of view, I treat the same and prepare the same way. Obviously in this situation, if you don’t win the game, there is no tomorrow. You don’t get to keep going. So it is always a tough game because you are playing against a talented team, a tough opponent, and it is going to be a tough game to win on Sunday.

Q: Turnovers being more important in the postseason – does that create more pressure on you?

A: I think obviously in a game you never want to turn the ball over. I think versus this defense you have to be aware that they are doing a good job of getting the pass rush. Those guys swipe at the ball and can cause fumbles. Also with a good pass rush you might feel – you feel you are trying to get the ball off in time and you might force something. So you have to be smart. From my point of view if something is there, take it; if not, don’t force anything, don’t be running around with just one hand on the ball. Because this team is veteran, they do a good job of making plays when you present it to them. So you have to be smart about what to do and when you can take chances and when you have enough time to get the ball down the field.

Q: Is there anything you can take from your previous two playoff performances?

A: I don’t know. From two years ago – last year we had a shot to win, just lost it with the last-second field goal. So I haven’t looked at the last two games. I haven’t looked at last year’s game since last year. So I’m not all that concerned with this. It is about what you are doing now and what you are doing on Sunday versus Tampa.

Re: game this week

A: I am just looking at the game ahead of me. I’m just going to try to play smart, put our team in a situation to win the game – whatever that is. Just make plays here and there, don’t force any turnovers, and don’t force anything to happen unless you have to.

Q: Is Tampa doing anything different defensively this year as compared to last year?

A: Yeah, they have shown some different looks and some different coverages than they had the year before. And I think that is just kind of a part of their defense they have grown into. And so as the quarterback you have to really study and try to see if you can tell any tips or any clues that can give you differences in their coverages that they are playing.

Q: Did you see a lot of Cover 2 last year?

A: Yeah, they just added – last year there were just a lot of Cover 2 and Cover 3, little blitz in between. Now they have added some quarters – Cover 4 – to that off and on. Safeties do a good job of disguising between the two and that makes it tough to read. So you just have to watch a lot of film and get your tips and cues on them.

Q: Have you been the Giants quarterback long enough to deal with playoffs?

A: I’m comfortable with where I am and being the quarterback here and with the team that we have. I’m excited about our shot in the playoffs.

Q: How much is O’Hara’s injury a concern for you?

A: Shaun is a guy that knows what he doing. He knows the offense. Hopefully he will be able to practice some later in the week. We don’t know about that. But whether he is in there and has practice, I think he will be fine. And just knowing what to do if he is not in there, then between Rich and Grey and those guys have been the in the system a long time. They both get practice at it. Grey played well last weekend versus New England. So whoever is in there I feel comfortable that we will be able to get the snap and be able to run our offense the same way.

Q: Does the performance of the offense last week give you a lot of confidence this week?

A: I think so. I think it helps to end the season on a good note when you are doing things well and you are making plays. But that doesn’t guarantee anything. You still have to go and try to do the same thing on Sunday. Our game, going against a very good defense, nothing is going to come easy. We will have to earn everything we get. It is just a matter of executing and not making mistakes and making the plays when they are there.

Q: Would you go over Peyton’s game against the Bucs this year with him?

A: Yeah, I might talk to him a little bit about it. Just kind of see what his notes were before or after the game and if he had any tips. But, again, it is two different offenses and two different schemes and how you do things. But I’ll probably talk to him and see what he has to say.

Q: Did your performance against New England change your own view on how to perform in a big game?

A: No, it hasn’t changed anything. I still feel very confident that I can go out there and play good football and put our team in a situation to win. It doesn’t change anything; it doesn’t mean anything will happen different. It is still about going out there this Sunday. It is a new game; new players; new situations. So it is about doing it on this Sunday.



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