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Quotes: Eli Manning, Mathias Kiwanuka

Posted Oct 13, 2014

Eli Manning and Mathias Kiwaunka meet the media to discuss the Giants loss to the Eagles and WR Victor Cruz


QB ELI MANNING

Q: Coach [Coughlin] talked earlier about how there is no time to feel sorry for yourselves… How do you overcome that after losing one of your best players and losing a game like you did on Sunday night?
A: That is not going to help us out any. We have to learn from this game, see where some of the mistakes are and what we have to do to get better and play at a higher level offensively. This week we have to grow up and find out who is going to be playing the spots that Victor [Cruz] has played so well for us and keep growing.
GIANTS VS. EAGLES
> Teammates show support for Cruz
> Experts look for answers following loss
> 3 impressions from defeat to Eagles
> Postgame Notes and State
> Giants suffer costly loss to Eagles
> Watch Highlights from Giants vs. Eagle

Q: You face a very difficult set of opponents in the next five games… Do you look at this as the crucial time of the season or do you not take such a broad view of it?
A: We worry about this upcoming game. We are playing in Dallas. They are playing great football. It is in the division. This is a big one for us. After this [we] have a bye week, so there is no point in looking ahead to anything else besides this one game and this is a big one for us. We have to have a great week of practice and go play a team that is playing great football. They are coming off a big win, beating Seattle, so we have to be prepared to play our best game.

Q: How ready do you feel [Odell Beckham Jr] is to step up into a bigger role after what you have seen the last two games?
A: I think he has done some good things in the games. We had some opportunities to hit some big ones to him in the game. We just never quite got the time to hit him on some things. I think his role will definitely grow a little bit. We will need some other guys to step up. Rueben Randle has been doing some good things and is going to have to continue to play well. It is just one of those deals where everyone’s roles are going to have to increase. Preston Parker is going to have to come in and play and play well for us to do some of the things that Victor has done. I think he is up to the challenge and we just have to keep working and practicing and hopefully we will be able to make some plays.

Q: Have you had a chance to talk to Victor yet?
A: I have not talked to him. I sent him a text message last night. I probably will try to reach out to him today sometime. Maybe talk with the trainers here and see where he is and what the plan is for him. I will try to reach out to him real soon.

Q: What was your reaction after you found out in the locker room yesterday about the severity of [Cruz’s] injury?
A: I think for the player. That is my only concern is the individual. I am not worried about our team or the season or how we will be able to manage. Injuries are tough. It is a tough part of football. Playing this game, [injuries] happen. You just hate it happened to Victor because he loves playing this game. He loves the practices. He loves competing, making plays, he is such a team player and leader in the locker room. He has a great attitude towards the game of football, and so to see him get injured and be out for the season, I feel for him.

Q: Was that as gruesome an injury as it looked… It looked as if he was in tears leaving the field?
A: He was in a lot of pain. At first I didn’t think it was a bad injury because from where I was it didn’t look like an awkward hit or fell on it funny. Then I saw him down for a long time and I walked over there and I saw him getting on the cart and he was in a lot of pain. At that point I thought it might be a little bit more serious than I originally anticipated.

Q: Do you know anyone that has torn their patellar tendon?
A: No, I don’t know much about it. I can’t recall anybody off the top of my head who has gone through it. I talked to the trainers a little bit about it. Just about what the normal procedure is. I know whatever it is and whatever [Cruz] has to do, he will work his tail off and rehab and hopefully have a speedy recovery and get back to playing football and doing what he does, making plays on the field, soon.

Q: How much of a step back did the offensive line take last night? How surprised were you after what they had shown in the previous three games?
A: Everybody took a little bit of a step back last night from the offense. It is not just the offensive line. They had some sacks, but some of those were on me for holding the ball. Some of those are on receivers [who] have to get open and do their jobs. Some were on the running backs picking up their protection, so it is a combination of the whole offense having to do a better job. I have to get the ball out quicker some and the offensive line has to play better as well. It is a little bit of everybody. It is tough. We had a lot of penalties. I think with our third downs, we had way too many. I think we had 10 third downs over ten yards, 3rd and 15’s and 3rd and 20’s. We just can’t live in that world. That is going to be tough versus a good defensive front. That is football. Sometimes you have those games where nothing seems to go quite your way. You have too many mistakes. You keep going backwards. You make things tough on yourself. That is what we had last night and we have to learn from it and grow from it. Sometimes you have a bad game and you can easily turn that around and get back to playing good football like we were three weeks prior.

Q: In past years, even the Super Bowl years, you have had pretty significant injuries to deal with… What is the key to moving on and fighting without those key players?
A: The key is to move on. Now we have to figure out what is going to be our best personnel. What are going to be our best formations? What are going to be our best ways of putting people in position to do what they do best that will help out the team? We have to be smart and creative with that and make sure guys, when they are on the field, are going to be able to play fast and know exactly what they are doing.

Q: How much do you feel that this puts some pressure on Odell?
A: I don’t think you have to put pressure on him. He has to do his job, just like everyone else has to do their job. It is not one person has to step up and be the key. Odell has done some good things. He has played well these last weeks and we have to find ways to get him the ball some more. Rueben Randle has to play well for us. Larry Donnell. The running backs. I have to play well. It is a combination. We all just have to do our jobs and we will be fine and able to make plays.

Q: You mentioned Rueben, earlier in the season and in the summer, there were times when the two of you were not on the same page… Has that gotten better, the communication, since his performance has picked up?
A: Yes. I think he is doing things better and we are on the same page on a lot of things. Each week there is always something, whether it be a new route or new concept, we have to improve on. That is what we are going to look at every week, to see what can we get a little better at this week. Rueben has been doing some good things for us and making some plays. He had a couple nice plays for us last night.

Q: What was that like for Odell and Andre Williams… Was that a learning experience to make their first starts in that environment?
A: I think any time you get your first start for young guys, on the road, on Sunday Night Football with a crowd that is known for being loud and harsh, I think it can only help. It can only make you more comfortable and used to it. It is good they got some experience this past week with it. We are going to have to do it again in Dallas on the road again in front of a big stadium and a good team. Hopefully they got the nerves out and now we can just worry about going in there and playing good football and get all of the jitters out of the way.

Q: Coach [Coughlin] talked earlier about how there is no time to feel sorry for yourselves… How do you overcome that after losing one of your best players and losing a game like you did on Sunday night?
A: That is not going to help us out any. We have to learn from this game, see where some of the mistakes are and what we have to do to get better and play at a higher level offensively. This week we have to grow up and find out who is going to be playing the spots that Victor [Cruz] has played so well for us and keep growing.

Q: You face a very difficult set of opponents in the next five games… Do you look at this as the crucial time of the season or do you not take such a broad view of it?
A: We worry about this upcoming game. We are playing in Dallas. They are playing great football. It is in the division. This is a big one for us. After this [we] have a bye week, so there is no point in looking ahead to anything else besides this one game and this is a big one for us. We have to have a great week of practice and go play a team that is playing great football. They are coming off a big win, beating Seattle, so we have to be prepared to play our best game.

Q: How ready do you feel [Odell Beckham Jr] is to step up into a bigger role after what you have seen the last two games?
A: I think he has done some good things in the games. We had some opportunities to hit some big ones to him in the game. We just never quite got the time to hit him on some things. I think his role will definitely grow a little bit. We will need some other guys to step up. Rueben Randle has been doing some good things and is going to have to continue to play well. It is just one of those deals where everyone’s roles are going to have to increase. Preston Parker is going to have to come in and play and play well for us to do some of the things that Victor has done. I think he is up to the challenge and we just have to keep working and practicing and hopefully we will be able to make some plays.

Q: Have you had a chance to talk to Victor yet?
A: I have not talked to him. I sent him a text message last night. I probably will try to reach out to him today sometime. Maybe talk with the trainers here and see where he is and what the plan is for him. I will try to reach out to him real soon.

Q: What was your reaction after you found out in the locker room yesterday about the severity of [Cruz’s] injury?
A: I think for the player. That is my only concern is the individual. I am not worried about our team or the season or how we will be able to manage. Injuries are tough. It is a tough part of football. Playing this game, [injuries] happen. You just hate it happened to Victor because he loves playing this game. He loves the practices. He loves competing, making plays, he is such a team player and leader in the locker room. He has a great attitude towards the game of football, and so to see him get injured and be out for the season, I feel for him.

Q: Was that as gruesome an injury as it looked… It looked as if he was in tears leaving the field?
A: He was in a lot of pain. At first I didn’t think it was a bad injury because from where I was it didn’t look like an awkward hit or fell on it funny. Then I saw him down for a long time and I walked over there and I saw him getting on the cart and he was in a lot of pain. At that point I thought it might be a little bit more serious than I originally anticipated.

Q: Do you know anyone that has torn their patellar tendon?
A: No, I don’t know much about it. I can’t recall anybody off the top of my head who has gone through it. I talked to the trainers a little bit about it. Just about what the normal procedure is. I know whatever it is and whatever [Cruz] has to do, he will work his tail off and rehab and hopefully have a speedy recovery and get back to playing football and doing what he does, making plays on the field, soon.

Q: How much of a step back did the offensive line take last night? How surprised were you after what they had shown in the previous three games?
A: Everybody took a little bit of a step back last night from the offense. It is not just the offensive line. They had some sacks, but some of those were on me for holding the ball. Some of those are on receivers [who] have to get open and do their jobs. Some were on the running backs picking up their protection, so it is a combination of the whole offense having to do a better job. I have to get the ball out quicker some and the offensive line has to play better as well. It is a little bit of everybody. It is tough. We had a lot of penalties. I think with our third downs, we had way too many. I think we had 10 third downs over ten yards, 3rd and 15’s and 3rd and 20’s. We just can’t live in that world. That is going to be tough versus a good defensive front. That is football. Sometimes you have those games where nothing seems to go quite your way. You have too many mistakes. You keep going backwards. You make things tough on yourself. That is what we had last night and we have to learn from it and grow from it. Sometimes you have a bad game and you can easily turn that around and get back to playing good football like we were three weeks prior.

Q: In past years, even the Super Bowl years, you have had pretty significant injuries to deal with… What is the key to moving on and fighting without those key players?
A: The key is to move on. Now we have to figure out what is going to be our best personnel. What are going to be our best formations? What are going to be our best ways of putting people in position to do what they do best that will help out the team? We have to be smart and creative with that and make sure guys, when they are on the field, are going to be able to play fast and know exactly what they are doing.

Q: How much do you feel that this puts some pressure on Odell?
A: I don’t think you have to put pressure on him. He has to do his job, just like everyone else has to do their job. It is not one person has to step up and be the key. Odell has done some good things. He has played well these last weeks and we have to find ways to get him the ball some more. Rueben Randle has to play well for us. Larry Donnell. The running backs. I have to play well. It is a combination. We all just have to do our jobs and we will be fine and able to make plays.

Q: You mentioned Rueben, earlier in the season and in the summer, there were times when the two of you were not on the same page… Has that gotten better, the communication, since his performance has picked up?
A: Yes. I think he is doing things better and we are on the same page on a lot of things. Each week there is always something, whether it be a new route or new concept, we have to improve on. That is what we are going to look at every week, to see what can we get a little better at this week. Rueben has been doing some good things for us and making some plays. He had a couple nice plays for us last night.

Q: What was that like for Odell and Andre Williams… Was that a learning experience to make their first starts in that environment?
A: I think any time you get your first start for young guys, on the road, on Sunday Night Football with a crowd that is known for being loud and harsh, I think it can only help. It can only make you more comfortable and used to it. It is good they got some experience this past week with it. We are going to have to do it again in Dallas on the road again in front of a big stadium and a good team. Hopefully they got the nerves out and now we can just worry about going in there and playing good football and get all of the jitters out of the way.

DE Mathias Kiwanuka

Q: One of the things we were asking Coach Coughlin was dealing with prosperity and why that seems to be difficult… Do you have any personal theories on why your team doesn’t always manage to deal well with prosperity?
A: Every season is different. Every team is different. It is a growing phase, especially when you have a lot of new guys coming together. It is a growing phase we are going through right now. I feel like in the past couple weeks we have done some good things. Then we came back and had a game like this. I think this is a turning point in the season. This is something we are going to have to grow up from real quick and make sure we get the ship right. The story about the season has not been written yet, and I feel like as long as we come back out this week ready, prepared and enthusiastic about getting a win, then we will change that perception of us.

Q: You have been a part of so much here, good, bad and everything in between…. Is this about as difficult a task to have to rebound from a loss such as this and the loss that Victor Cruz presents?
A: To be honest with you, I have been here a while and I have seen a lot of ups and downs. Losing an individual like Victor for the season this early is going to be tough. There is no doubt about that. He is a tremendous competitor. He is a great leader and a big part of this team. He will be missed. That being said, the reality of the situation is – I think I said this after the game -- almost every single week somebody’s season is ended or shortened. We are accustomed to dealing with it. It is nothing anybody likes to or enjoys talking about, but it is a big part of the game that we are used to dealing with. We will go out and put our best men on the field and we will work towards getting that win. This is not the most difficult. There is no sense of desperation here. It is just disappointment at the loss and the manner of the loss. You have to give [Philadelphia] credit. They came out prepared and full of desire and they took it.

Q: Tom has always preached, ‘Talk is cheap, play the game.’ There was quite a bit of talk from both teams, but particularly from the Giants, this past week… In the past there have been smatterings of talk and generally the team does not win those games… Do you think there is any connection to that? Do you think people will dial it back based on what happened last night?
A: I think this was a humbling experience for all of us. You are right. Coach Coughlin is always preaching talk is cheap. Let your pads do all the talking. We have had a lot of meetings today and it has been reiterated to us that [the talking] didn’t get us a win. It wasn’t anything that helped, so we have to focus all of our energy and efforts on only doing things that are going to help us win. I can’t speak for any other individuals here, but I feel like as group, we understand the message that we received today and we will move on in a better way.

Q: Tom was not happy with what went on last week?
A: Of course not. First off, that is not the type of organization that this is. From the very beginning, this has been a first-class organization. [Coach] Coughlin has always tried to run a tight ship and especially when it comes to respecting your opponent and never doing anything to cast a negative light upon this organization. We get it. We understood and we will move on from it.

Q: When you looked at the tape… The breakdowns that were happening on defense was there a common theme or a matter of one thing popping up here, another popping up there?
A: There were some common threads in there. There were a lot of mistakes. There was enough blame to go around. I can only speak for our side of the ball. We didn’t watch the film together with the offense. On the defensive side, there were mistakes that were made multiple times. It wasn’t always people not understanding what they were asked to do. Some of it was people trying to do too much. People trying to go outside of the defense and make a play. When you start doing that, there are multiple breakdowns that happen and you end up with the outcome we had last night.

Q: You just mentioned that the team has to grow up real quick… Eli mentioned something about growing up, too… What is the common theme there with the veterans and sending this message looking to everyone to grow up?
A: When I say it, I mean showing up every day early, wide awake, taking notes, going out to practice and knowing that you are going to make mistakes, but working tirelessly to correct those mistakes during the course of the week and continuing to watch film. To study your opponent. To get your rest. To do all the cold tub, contrast and all of the things physically you need to do to get your body ready. Instead of doing something, whatever it may be, that is more fun or relaxing. This is a fun game, but it is also a hard business. It takes a big toll on your mental and physical capabilities. We have to be able to prioritize getting a win early in the week, so that we can show up prepared, confident and ready to play. That is what I mean when I say grow up.

Q: How do you look at Victor being in that much pain and then go out there and play again?
A: It is something that you learn from being a young kid. I think the first time you ever see somebody go down with a devastating knee injury, usually it is the ACL. This was a little more significant. The first time you see – I mean back in high school I can remember being completely devastated when one of my teammates went down. As time goes on, just as in life, bad things happen. You are sad and down about it, but as a man, you still have a job to do. It is better to go out and fight and play harder in the spirit of that player that went down, instead of hanging your head and taking a beating. I know when I went down, the only thing I wanted was those guys to fight just as hard when I went down both times. I understand exactly, not injury-wise, but I understand mentally where he is at and how much he wants to get back. In the meantime we have to do our part and step up and fight for him. That is the type of mentality I take on the very next play, you just want to go out and give it everything you’ve got. And use that as a reminder that you don’t know how much time you have to play this game. Everyone thinks, ‘Oh, I am tired this week. Or I am this, this week.’ But you might not be able to play next week and for a lot of guys who go down, the majority, that injury can have a long-term effect on their careers. While you have the opportunity, you have to make the most out of it.

Q: Did [Coach] Coughlin not care for the back and forth… I am just trying to clarify. You seemed to indicate that was the case.
A: I try to stay away from putting words in other people’s mouths. When you talk to Tom, you guys can ask him point blank how he felt about it. The message we got was that, like I said, every effort that we use during the course of the week has to be spent on stuff that is going to get us better and prepared.