Giants QB Eli Manning Conference Call Transcript - Jan. 16


(What is your first memory of watching Brett Favre?)

I don't know if I can even remember the first experience, I think just watching him in Green Bay and just running around and throwing touchdowns and running up and down the field and kind of going crazy and doing what he's still doing. So he's just, I always remember as a quarterback who looked like he was having fun playing football, and he didn't look like he was at work, just kind of playing the way that he wanted to play and not really worrying about anything else.

(Was he a guy that you wanted to play like or did you have his jersey?)

Yeah, he was a guy, shoot I remember when, I guess I was in high school when they came to the Super Bowl in New Orleans and our high school team did a deal with New England and Green Bay. They filmed something for some show where we were having to be the Green Bay offense and I'm wearing a Brett Favre jersey, so he's always a guy that you always watched and as a quarterback growing up you always liked watching the guys who were playing at the highest level and he was a guy who was playing the best football then.

(When you wearing the jersey were you trying to be like him?)

No, I was just trying to do whatever they said, but I'd do the handoff and do the jump shot after or do kind of a crazy fake, and I was even doing that stuff in high school where you kind of hand off and then jump and do the fake throw so you can get someone to look at you or hold the defender for a second.

(Can you talk about Green Bay's corners, particularly Charles Woodson?)

They have a very talented defense and their corners play physical football. They get in your receivers, press them up, try to get their hands on them and just try to disrupt any timing or when you see balls getting completed there's not a whole lot of room. You've got to throw it in tight areas and they play physical, and we understand that. We have bigger, physical receivers ourselves, so we'll see how that match-up goes.

(What's been the key to your offensive sharpness the last couple games?)

I think we're just not making many mistakes. We're not having many penalties where you don't get stuck in a whole lot of third-and-long situations. We haven't been behind in games where you're trying to catch up and trying to force things and thinking you have to make plays. We just played smart football. We've put ourselves in good situations and we've been able to run the ball decently and throw the ball just on time and we've been accurate. Guys are getting open. The offensive line's protecting, so things have been just working how you'd hope they should work.

(Have you personally just developed a just-live-for-another-day approach?)

Yeah, I think it's just no one expected us to be here and it's been a fun journey. It's been a fun ride through everything and I think we've just been a team that has, when you put us up against the wall, we've kind of said, 'You've got to win this game to get in the playoffs,' or during the season we started 0-2 and we've had to fight back from a lot of things. We've been a team that's good on the road when circumstances are bad and things are not going your way we've found a way to win ourselves out of that, and I think that's what we're riding on.

{sportsad300}(Have you guys played looser with no one expecting you to be here?)

I don't know if it's allowed you to play looser, I just think it's kind of that mentality we've had that kind of no one's on our side and if we're going to make it happen and if we're going to win this game and we're going to make a run it's because what we're doing. What the players, what we decide and how we think, it doesn't matter how everyone else thinks if we believe we can win this game, and if our mindset is on preparing well enough and going out there and performing well enough to win, that's all that really matters.

(How have you been able to make up for losing Shockey?)

I think just other guys stepping up and every different person, you know, other guys have come in and just played well for us, and you have some young guys stepping up. You look at (running back) Ahmad Bradhsaw, you have (wide receiver) Steve Smith. (Tight end) Kevin Boss has really stepped in Shockey's role and done some pretty good things for us. But also Amani Toomer, Plaxico (Burress), all those guys have just stepped up their game and started making plays, and we've had to go to some different looks and use some more four wide receiver stuff and those type of things but we've just found ways. We obviously miss him and he's a person who set up some great match-ups for us that we'd like to work, but we've just got to create in different ways now.

(How have you seen yourself grow up or improve over the course of the year and in the playoffs?)

You know, I don't know. I think we've played two pretty good games. It's not like this is brand new. I've played two good games in a row before. It's not like all of a sudden I'm a different man and I think if we can go out there and play smart football, don't turn the ball over, don't have penalties and run the ball decently we'll be in better situations to throw it and not have to sit back there and hold the ball real long where you have a talented defensive line and get guys open quickly and get the ball in their hands.

(Any thought at all to the cold weather on Sunday?)

No, I just don't think you can worry about it. The weather is what it's going to be. You can't control it. Both teams have to play in it. You wear your warm-weather stuff. You have a hand-warmer, we practice outside. Obviously the weather's not going to be the same here as it is down there but you're still playing in wind and cool weather up here so our mindset is, 'Hey, how do we get ready for Green Bay?' How do we get ready for their team, prepare ourselves as much as we can (with) our game-plan and our practices, and if you play good football on Sunday everything will work itself out.

(Has the player committee been what's made this thing work a little better for you guys?)

I think it's been helpful and I think teams just react to it better when you kind of have things coming from the players. It's Coach Coughlin's idea and we talk about things and we decide about certain things. Some things we don't have a say on and that's the way it is. He's the coach. And then some things he asks our opinion. He wants to see what the players think and just kind of think what's best for our team and the players we have but then also kind of have the players go out and express his word, what he wants from us and what to expect and what we need to do. It just seems that some players react to that better when you don't always just hear from the head coach, when you hear from your former teammates and leaders throughout the team.

(Is it weird having Peyton watching and supporting you instead of the other way around?)

It's not weird and you know Peyton, he's always supported me. He watched our game on Sunday after their tough loss and he called me and left a message. I talked to him after the game and he was proud of me and just said, 'You made my day a little bit better by winning.' So it meant a lot to me and he won't be at the game in Green Bay, but he'll definitely be watching and definitely rooting me on.

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