Over the years, Manning has developed under basically the same leadership of Tom Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride, who was the quarterbacks coach from 2004-06 before becoming offensive coordinator. With the offseason officially underway, Manning relishes the congruity heading into his 10th year.
“I think it’s a great advantage to have going into the offseason knowing, hey, it’s going to be the same offense, we’re going to be able to grow, we’re going to be able to expand,” Manning told WFAN’s Mike Francesa. “Each year our offensive coaches work hard to see what’s working, what concepts are really working well for us and what’s not and what can we learn, what are other teams doing that they’re having success. So I think we’ll work hard at that and I think having receivers come back and offensive linemen who know the offense, who know the ins and outs, who quickly learn, and I think those are all positive things.”
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But the consistency of the main parts in place is what made 2012 so baffling to the Giants, who were anything but that – consistent. Making it even more difficult to digest, Manning knew the potential the team had as well as the opportunities, which aren’t guaranteed every year.
“I think having played enough years to know when you have a talented team and when you have a playoff-caliber team and a team that could possibly win a championship, you kind of know when you have that type of group,” Manning continued. “And I think we had that this year. And we had a talented team that could go in and beat any team. On a certain day, we could beat anybody, and we knew that. So when you miss the playoffs and you can’t give yourself even a chance at a championship, it’s definitely unfortunate."
Manning added: “We knew after last year that you just can’t flirt with 9-7 and expect that to be good enough. We got fortunate last year. This year, we knew that wasn’t going to be the case. We knew it late in the year that that wasn’t going to be the case, and I think you can always look back at a season and pick a few games – ‘we could have won this one, we could have won that one, it’s important.’ But it’s usually at the end of a year, you’re going to kind of know the scenario, you’re going to know what you need to do to possibly make the playoffs, what games you need to win. And this year was right in front of us. We knew what we had to do and we didn’t go do it.”