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Eli Manning eager to set things right

9/4/2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- He is a happy family man, fabulously wealthy and a two-time winner of the Super Bowl. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has no need to care about what people say or think about him.

Yet it does bother Manning a bit that, after all he's done, the narrative going into the 2014 season is about what he still has to prove. Manning had a rotten year in 2013, and he's not denying that. He just would like everyone to know he's as disappointed about it as they are.

"I think, from a personal standpoint, I definitely want to go out there and play well," Manning said after Giants practice Thursday. "I don't like losing football games. I don't like having bad games. That's tough on me and it's tough on the team."

Manning threw 27 interceptions last season, a career-high and league-leading total. He's struggled this preseason for a number of reasons, including the new offense the Giants are installing, his still-shaky pass protection and questionable depth at the wide receiver and tight end positions. Through it all, he's maintained his faith that the Giants will get things figured out. And now that the games will count, he's ready to play one.

"I'm anxious to get playing," Manning said. "I'm anxious to start the season and I'm excited to get back into a season where you're competing and things are real."

The Giants open the 2014 regular season Monday Night in Detroit against the Lions. While the offense may not be all the way in place around him, Manning appears to those around him to be driven to make it work.

"He's focused, he's focused, he's focused. It's serious business for him," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "To come back and have a good, solid year is his goal and all of our goals."

Coughlin said he could see the focus and determination in Manning's face this summer. But in typical Manning fashion, the quarterback shrugged off the notion that anything was different from past summers.

"Same focus as ever," Manning said. "I would hope he'd think I'd be focused right now."