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Summer Q&A with QB Eli Manning

Posted Jul 13, 2016

Giants.com chats with players for a Summer Q&A about all things Big Blue:  

Get excited. July is the last month without NFL games.

As you -- and Giants players -- enjoy summer vacations, the 2016 season is right around the corner. After reporting for training camp on July 28, the Giants will open the preseason on Aug. 12 vs. Miami and kick off Week 1 at Dallas on Sept. 11.

>> READ: 30 QUESTIONS IN 30 DAYS

Leading up to the team's return to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, Giants.com caught up with some members of the team for a quick Q&A about all things Big Blue.  

Today, we have:

QB Eli Manning

Q: Victor Cruz has had a tough journey the last year and a half, and you’re a guy who knows him probably better than anybody in the organization. What does it mean to this team to just have his presence and then get him back on the field?

A: Well, I think Victor is obviously a leader of this team, a guy that’s had great success, kind of worked his way into the starting lineup, into being a Pro Bowler, and Super Bowl champion. Obviously this last year and a half has been tough, and he had the injury with his knee, fought, rehabbed, did everything the right way, gets another injury, kind of kept coming back, kept re-injuring, and it’s tough because he wants to be out there, he’s worked extremely hard, he wants to be part of the team and back practicing and playing. He’s worked extremely hard to get back and to get him on the field and get him going, he’s a guy that when he makes plays in a game, it builds up the morale of the team and gets everybody excited.

Q: On the other side of the ball, Jason Pierre-Paul is another teammate who’s gone through adversity this past year. How important do you think that influence has been on the guys on the other side, and on the whole team, that he’s had this will and capacity to come back?

A: I think you saw it last year when JPP came back after all the injuries and doing everything to get back in shape, and he had just a great motor going and just an intensity wanting to get back out on the field as soon as possible and play. And you see that carry over to this year and to the offseason, just his desire to make plays and prove that he’s going to be the same player and be a dominant player on the defensive side and be able to make all the plays that he’s been able to make in the past. You see that mindset in practice, and I think it’ll carry over into the games. 

>> VIEW: TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE

Q: How important is leadership on a team?

A: I think leadership is obviously very important and everybody has their role as a leader. There’s not one guy doing everything, one guy doing the talking. There are different ways of doing it. I’m a big 'lead by example' guy. It’s the way you practice, the way you prepare, the way you think about the game, handle your business, and get your sleep and eat right and do everything that you have to do to get yourself ready and the team ready. But you know, there’s got to be leaders at every position, the receivers, the tight ends room, the running back rooms, those guys have to hold everybody accountable and themselves accountable to be at their best.

Q: You’re not a native New Yorker, but you’re a New Yorker because of your imprint on the community. How important is that to you and how personal do you take that in giving back?

A: Well, I think giving back is very important. I think when you come and become part of a franchise and part of a city and an area and you play football for those people, you want to give back to the community in some way, as well. And having been here now going into my 13th year, you find different events, different activities, different groups that you get involved with. It starts maybe as a one-time deal. You go to something and you see the impact that these organizations are making on people, you visit a hospital, and then you ask, 'How can I help, how can I get involved?' And it starts from there. You feel like you’re helping people in some way or form, either get healthy or to get things they need so they can live a better life, and I just feel I’ve been extremely blessed to be able to play football and do it for a living, and I want to try and help out some people who are going through a tougher time.

Q: The Giants open the 2016 season at Dallas again, and you’ve been involved in so many historic games against the Cowboys. What does the rivalry mean to the Giants?

A: The Giants versus the Cowboys always seems to be a tight game, and they always have tremendous players and talent, and when you go against a lot of familiar faces over the years, you know it’s just going to be a hard-fought battle and know that you’re going to have to play your best game. It just seems to usually come down to the fourth quarter and who can make a big play in those last few minutes of the game to get the win; that’s usually the way it unfolds. 

Q: Green Bay isn’t a division rival, but you’ve had some legendary games against the Packers. How big has that rivalry been in your career?

A: Green Bay is a tremendous team with good players, they always seem to be kind of a playoff team, playoff contenders, and so over the years I’ve had great games against them, close games, playoff games against them. So you just know you’re going to get a team that can score a lot of points on offense and the defense has tremendous players, going to get turnovers. You’ve got your mind set that it’s going to be a game where you have to score a lot of points and you get excited to play in those.