Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Eli Manning has no plans to sit out
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has played in 149 consecutive games. That's the second-longest active streak in the NFL, behind only Washington linebacker London Fletcher, who announced Wednesday that he was planning to retire at the end of this season. Manning takes great pride in his streak and his ability to suit up every week. So even though the Giants have no chance of reaching the postseason and the offensive line continues to crumble in front of him, Manning has no plans to sit out in either of the final two games of the season.
"I talked to Coach, and it never came up as a question of whether I want to play or not," Manning said after Giants practice Wednesday. "I want to play, I want to compete and figure out a way to run this offense more efficiently."
Manning met with Giants coach Tom Coughlin on Monday. He described the meeting as routine -- the kind he and Coughlin have every now and then to discuss the state of the team and the offense. Coughlin indicated that the idea of Manning's safety behind a banged-up line has come up, but that it has not changed either man's plans.
"We've talked about this," Coughlin said. "He wants to play, and he's looking forward to playing and competing and having a better game. I wouldn't expect anything different."
The Giants' offensive line is already without two starters and its backup center, who have all been placed on injured reserve. The two players who started at guard last week -- James Brewer and David Diehl -- missed Wednesday's practice due to injury. Manning already has been sacked 36 times this year -- the highest such single-season number of his career. And to top it all off, it appears likely he'll be without top wide receiver Victor Cruz, who suffered both a concussion and a knee sprain Sunday. But in true captain's style, Manning continues to profess outward faith in whoever lines up in front of him.
"Whoever's in there, they'll handle it and we'll have a good play and we'll make it work," Manning said. "You've got to have confidence they're going to do their job, just like they have confidence that I'm going to do my job. You make adjustments. If you have a new guy at guard going against Ndamukong Suh, you take some seven-step drops. You've got to be smart about it. But we've still got to run our offense."
The offense hasn't run well this year. Manning's already matched his career high with 25 interceptions after throwing five in Sunday's loss to the Seahawks. That game was the second this year in which the Giants were shut out. No other team in the league has been shut out even once this season. But one of Manning's strengths as a quarterback is his ability to forget struggles and focus on the task at hand. He continues to lean on that.
"You've got to forget about the last game," Manning said. "Whether you had a great one or a terrible one, you move forward. I'm going to keep throwing it, keep trying to compete and do whatever we can to win a game."