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Eli Manning: Bad loss to the Ravens was ‘shocking’ and ‘confusing’

After an embarrassing loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the New York Giants will need a ton of help next week in order to make the playoffs. The G-Men have to beat the Philadelphia Eagles at home and have the Dallas Cowboys lose or tie, the Minnesota Vikings lose and the Chicago Bears lose. Stranger things have happened, but the chances are looking slim.

As for that 33-14 loss in Baltimore, Eli Manning was baffled that his team has put itself in the position it is currently in.

“It’s shocking,” Manning said according to the NY Post. “It’s one thing to lose and it’s one thing to be in there and something happens at the end of the game and [another to] not give yourself a chance. To get down early and getting no momentum, get no spark that can get us going and consistently not making plays that are there and not executing to our ability, it can be confusing.”

Since starting out the season 6-2, the Giants have lost five out of their last seven games. They have been outscored 67-14 in their last two games, during which Manning posted a passer rating of 58.5. The only thing New York can do now is attempt to take care of the Eagles and hope for the best.

“All we can do is go out and try to get back to playing better,” Manning said. “Whatever happens after that, you can’t worry about it. … So whether we make the playoffs or we go into the off-season, at least we go into that last regular season game and … we have a sense that we played well and ended on a good note.”

The Giants have stumbled into the playoffs and gone on to win the Super Bowl twice in the past five years, so in a way this is their style. They seem to enjoy digging themselves out of a hole, but the one they’ve created this year could be too deep to crawl out of.

Photo credit: Jim O’Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Eli Manning asked Peyton Manning for advice on playing the Ravens

Eli Manning has the benefit of having more than just game film at his disposal to prepare for the New York Giants’ game against the Baltimore Ravens this weekend. He has an older brother. The Denver Broncos defeated the Ravens in convincing fashion last Sunday, which means Eli’s next opponent is fresh on Peyton Manning’s mind.

“I talked to him a little bit and watched the game,” Eli Manning said on Wednesday according to the Baltimore Sun. “Our offenses are a little different. I tried to just watch the game and see what they were doing and see how the defense played certain looks. So I talked to him a little bit, but it’s really going to be a matter of our own preparation and trying to understand what type of scheme we’re going to run against them.”

Peyton didn’t exactly light it up (17-for-28, 204 yards, 1 TD), but he didn’t have to. Baltimore made so many mistakes that Denver’s offense had to do very little. However, Peyton is a known student of the game who can certainly pass on anything he saw to his little brother. Given the fact that the Giants are in a three-way tie atop the NFC East with two regular season games remaining, Eli will take all the advice he can get.

It should be noted that Eli also sought advice from Peyton earlier in the season after big brother lit up the Cincinnati Bengals. Eli wound up throwing for 215 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions in a loss to the Bengals, so hopefully Peyton’s wisdom has more of an impact this time around.

Photo credit: Jim O’Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Phil Simms: Eli Manning not an elite quarterback

Just when you thought Eli Manning had ended the “elite quarterback” discussion by winning a second Super Bowl, analyst Phil Simms had to stir it back up again.

Simms, who played quarterback for the New York Giants from 1979-1993, said on CBS Sports Network’s “NFL Monday QB” that Manning is not elite.

“No, he is not one of the elites,” Simms said, via the New York Daily News. “Because when I hear the word elite, I’m thinking about guys that can make unbelievable plays on the field by themselves. There are very few quarterbacks in that category.

“I always bring up Aaron Rodgers. He is one of them,” said Simms. “So yes, Eli has been a tremendous team player. He has been MVP of the Super Bowl twice. I know that. But the way I look at it, the answer is no.”

The debate about Eli’s ranking among today’s quarterbacks raged last year when Manning said on a radio show that he considered himself one of the elites. We laughed at him at the time, but then he proved us and his other critics wrong with a spectacular season.

Hall of Fame quarterback and current CBS analyst Dan Fouts disagreed with Simms.

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DeAngelo Hall: Eli Manning is a Hall of Fame player and super smart

DeAngelo Hall insists he did not mean any disrespect earlier this week when he said the Washington Redskins gave Eli Manning and the New York Giants a win last Sunday. When discussing New York’s game-winning 77-yard touchdown, Hall basically said anyone could have made the throw and that it was nothing more than a blown coverage. Several Giants players ripped him for the comments, and the Redskins corner backed off on Thursday.

“I think anybody who’s smart enough to watch football can sit there and see we blew that coverage,” Hall explained according to D.C. Sports Bog. “With that being said, the question I was asked was ‘Is Eli just the smartest guy?, some question the reporter asked me about that particular play. And I was like, nah, you didn’t have to be too smart to see a guy run down the middle and just throw it up.

“I’m not saying Eli’s not smart. You know, the dude’s super smart. He won two Super Bowls. I got drafted with Eli. I was able to get to know him and his family through that whole process. I respect his game a whole lot. I respect that football team, Coach Coughlin, all those guys a lot and what they’ve been able to accomplish up there in New York.”

As much as we like to rip on Hall for saying things like this and allegedly hitting opponents in the face, the explanation sounds pretty sincere. In his defense, it was very much a blown coverage by Washington. Anytime you let an opposing team’s best receiver run free down the seam with under two minutes to play, you’ve made an epic mistake. In that sense, the play was not all that difficult for the Giants to execute.

Photo credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Eli Manning says life is easier now that he doesn’t have to force the ball to veterans

Early on in his career, Eli Manning struggled to establish himself as a leader of the New York Giants. When you take over as the quarterback of a team that has veterans on offense like Tiki Barber, Plaxico Burress, Jeremy Shockey and Amani Toomer, it’s easy to feel like a little fish in a big pond. That’s why Manning is clearly enjoying life more now that people like the aforementioned players are no longer around.

“I think early on we probably had receivers who in practice, you’d try to force them to get them balls so they don’t get down or you keep them happy, and I think you create bad habits doing that,” Manning said according to the Newark Star-Ledger. “As I got older and we got younger, new guys in, it evolved to doing it the correct way, going through the reads, saying you’ve got to earn the right to get open.”

Some would argue that Victor Cruz has become Manning’s favorite target, but he says that has less to do with their personal relationship and more to do with Cruz’s ability to get open.

“As a quarterback you always want to trust your guys and I tell them that I don’t have favorites, I’m not going to force it to one guy,” he said. “I’ve got a read and a progression. If you want to know what my progression is, I’ll be happy to tell you. And I’m going to stick to that. If you’re my first read, it’s your job to get open. If you’re not, then I’m going on to the next guy.”

One of the things that makes guys like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees so effective is that their favorite receivers are the ones who are open. Manning has put himself near that class with his ability to succeed with a variety of receivers, many of whom are backups and no-namers. Most of the distractions have either retired or gone to other teams, and that has helped Manning’s growth tremendously.

Photo credit: Jim O’Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Giants players rip DeAngelo Hall for not giving Eli Manning credit on game-winner

When Eli Manning connected with Victor Cruz for a 77-yard touchdown that gave the New York Giants and comeback win over the Washington Redskins, DeAngelo Hall was not impressed. Rather than seeing it as another tremendous fourth-quarter comeback from a resilient Giants team, Hall saw it as a gift from his team.

“Ultimately he did because he made the play to beat us, but I don’t feel like he made that play,” Hall told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday. “I feel we gave him that play. We just had one guy set his feet and one guy not do this. I could have thrown that ball and he would have scored. It wasn’t something where he was a rocket scientist and he figured something out. We just played that as bad as possible.”

You don’t have to look at the play all that closely to know that it was terrible coverage, so in a way you can see what Hall is referring to. That being said, the Giants and Manning still had to call the right play based on the defense they saw and then execute it. That’s why some New York players feel that Hall’s comments were disrespectful.

“DeAngelo Hall is not that smart,” Justin tuck said according to Ralph Vacchiano of the NY Daily News.

USA TODAY’s Mike Garafolo said Victor Cruz called Hall’s comments “a little disrespectful” and Manning even stepped out of character a bit and fired back at the Redskins corner.

“I didn’t think it took a rocket scientist to figure it out either,” Manning said. “That was the coverage they messed up. As an offense, you have to take advantage of that.”

The “we beat ourselves” excuse is one of the lamest in sports, and one that the Giants have heard before on numerous occasions. Hall is also known for having a big mouth, so it doesn’t surprise me that he tried to take credit away from his division rivals. All that matters is the Giants got one in the win column and Washington took a loss. Whether Hall feels they earned it or not really isn’t relevant.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk
Photo credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Martellus Bennett: My relationship with Tony Romo was like man dating two women

Martellus Bennett enjoys playing for the Giants far more than he enjoyed playing for the Cowboys. We are a mere six games into his first season with New York, and the tight end has already made that quite clear. Bennett spent four seasons with Dallas, but he says he has already established a better relationship with Eli Manning than he ever had with Tony Romo. More specifically, he no longer has to be the second girlfriend.

“Me and Eli are a lot closer than I was with Romo,” Bennett told Jim Rome on CBS Sports Network according to the Dallas Morning News. “I think Romo is a great quarterback. And I think he’s done some great things for the Cowboys. But I just think his relationship with Witten is one of those special things they were able to build.

“Being here, I’ve just been trying to build the same thing with Eli. And I think I’ve had the chance to build and grow into that role instead of being the guy that’s going to be second hand in the relationship. It’s kind of like somebody who is dating two women. One woman is going to get more attention than the other.”

While the simile may be a bit questionable, we see Bennett’s point. He has showered Manning in praise in the past and taken veiled shots at Romo, so in the end this is just more of the same. Bennett’s three touchdown catches this season are only one shy of his career high with the Cowboys and he is less than 60 yards short of surpassing his career high in receiving yards. He’s simply a better fit in New York. If he wants to compare that to being somebody’s girlfriend, that’s his prerogative.