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1.7 QB Eli Manning



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JANUARY 9, 2008

Q:  Could you talk a little about the Giants-Eagles rivalry now that the two teams are in the playoffs?

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A:  This is exciting, obviously.  They are a talented team.  For us, since I have been here, really the last four years, it seems like every game we have played we have come down to the fourth quarter.  A few plays decide whether you win or lose.  So it has always been tough.  We have high scoring; we have had low scoring. We have just had a mix of all sorts of different types of games.  But it is always a physical game.  So this is exciting.  This is what the playoffs are all about – is playing the big-time games and playing teams that you see twice a year.  They know what we do; we know what they do.  So it is just a matter of execution and whoever is going to play the best football is going to win. 

Q: As high as the stakes were last year, the Cowboys game was intense. Is that what playoff games in your division are like?

A:  Yeah, I think so just because it is all about execution.  It is all about who is the more physical team, who out-executes the other team.  It is a matter of having a plan.  Going out there and playing hard and playing fast.  And making an impact and making some game-changing plays.  So hopefully we can hit a couple of big plays.  But it all comes down to just making the plays that are there and executing and finding completions, running the ball, being consistent and not giving up the big plays. 

Q:  How good is it that you have Brandon Jacobs ready to go?

A:  In the playoff time you need all of your weapons.  Brandon is one of them but we have a bunch of guys who have been nicked up here and there a little bit.  So we had the week off to get everybody back healthy.  Everybody has participated today.  That is what we are going to need out there to help us win this game.

Q:  Are you a team that plays better with a chip on your shoulder?

A:  It really doesn't matter to me.  I think it is a matter of going in there with a confidence, going in there believing in what you are doing, believing in the game plan and believing that we can win this game.  It is not just thinking, it is about visualizing plays that can happen and just having total confidence that we can go out there.  And if we play our best football, we can win.

Q:  How much more secure are you this year than last?

A:  I think I am always confident going into a game.  It is just a matter of we have been through it before but you have to know that just because we had success last year, it doesn't give us any rights that we are going to have success again this year.  It is about going out there and earning it.  Nothing is going to be given to us.  They are not going to play us any different because we had success in the playoffs.  They are playing great football right now.  So we have to match that intensity and match that confidence. 

Q:  What challenges did being the defending champs present this season?

A:   You have to look at the games the same way.  You have to look at your preparation, how you treat each game the same way and how is your team going to ---- they are going to come after you and be fired up for playing the defending champs.  So you have to come out and match that intensity and match that ………that are the other teams doing; that excitement, no matter what the game is.  So I think we have done a great job of doing that for the most part all season.  But everything is equal now.  It is playoff week.  Philadelphia doesn't care what we did last year.  They know how to play this game.  They played with great intensity every week.  So it is going to be a great matchup and one that we know is going to be tough.  That is what makes it fun.

Q:  Have you gained an appreciation for teams that repeated?

A:  Well, it is going to come down to the playoffs.  So we are trying to continue to play well and worry this game.  That is our only concern right now – the Philadelphia Eagles and going out there Sunday and playing our best football.

Q:  What role does luck have in the playoffs?

A:  It is just taking advantage of opportunities, I think.  You are going to get some bounces that go your way.  Some bounces aren't going to go your way.  But when it comes down to it, sometimes you have to create our own luck.  And that is by doing those things – playing smart, staying in games and not making the big mistakes.  And hopefully you get a couple of calls; you get a couple of breaks that go your way.  But sometimes you have to make those and when you get something that opens up or a tipped ball or a guy misses a tackle - it is about taking advantage of those opportunities and those situations and scoring touchdowns and making the best of it.

Q:  Brandon Jacobs gets the crowd going – does it have some effect on the team?

A:  Yeah, Brandon does a great job of getting everybody fired up and just kind of bringing that intensity that we will run the ball.  We will pound it at first and just set that physical standard that we have as an offense.  So he does a good job of doing that and then we mix it up and throw the ball with Derrick Ward and Ahmad and throwing different looks.  But he does a great job of getting the crowd up, getting them fired up and getting our offense into that physical mode.

Q:  How does the level of familiarity going to affect this game?

A:  It is just going to come down to execution.  They might have a new blitz or two.  We have seen a lot of their blitzes.  They are going to come with things that have worked in the past and have their staple of looks and their formations and their blitz packages that they are going to do.  It is just about seeing it and having a plan for it; knowing when you are in trouble, knowing when they are going to get us on a few, or have the right blitz called, knowing when you have an opportunity to make a play and when – they are in a great call right now, don't make it worse; don't turn the ball over.  So our defense is going to cause the same problems for their offense.  So it is just a matter of knowing we have opportunities, knowing when you have the perfect play call versus their defense and taking advantage and making those plays and knowing then, "Hey, they got us on this one and don't make a bad play into a worse one."

Q:  Is your approach to a playoff game any different than a regular season game?

A:  No, it can't be any different.  We prepare the same.  You go and you watch your film.  You study; you have your practice week.  You try to keep everything the same but there is -- it is a different feeling to it just knowing, "Hey, if we don't go and do our job this week then we are done; our season is over."  Where in Week Three it might be a loss but obviously there is – you want …………..but there is a different mentality, there is a different feel when it is playoff week.

Q:  How much has winning the Super Bowl changed your stature; how much has that added to your confidence?

A:  I don't think it changes my attitude or my preparation.  That is when you get in trouble when you think just because you had success last year it is automatically going to happen again. That is not the case.  Every year is different; every game is different.  So it is just a matter of, "Hey, we had success last year because we believed in every game that we played that we could win through that playoff stretch.  We were confident.  We played good football.  That is why we won; it is not just because we went out there. We executed better than the other teams.  We were more physical; we made the plays.  So we have to have that same approach.  We have to be an even more prepared team; we have to be the more physical team.  We have to go out there and play better football.  That is the only thing that is going to help us win this game.

Q:  You played 10 straight games against .500 teams or better.  Has that worn you out or made you better?

A:  I think when you play versus good teams and you play good defenses and talented teams, it just makes you stronger.  You become – you are used to playing good players.  You know your technique, your form, your execution has to be that much better if you are going to go out there and succeed.  And so we have played against some great defenses these last weeks; this last end of the season.    And we have executed well.  But now we kind of know what it is going to take.  Nothing is going to be given to us easy.  It is about going out there and doing everything perfectly if you are going to have success. 

Q:  Did you view yourself any differently after winning the Super Bowl?

A:  No.  I went into this season with the same attitude and that is to try to play my best football; try to become a better quarterback. In the offseason I set my goals of what I wanted to try to accomplish.  And now once the season starts you just worry about from game to game, trying to go out there and prepare yourself to put your team in a situations to win; get the game into the fourth quarter,  make the right plays to win games.  And that has been my focus for every game.  Because you have had some success it doesn't change your mentality or the way you approach things.

Q:  What did you learn from Kurt Warner?

A:  Kurt is a guy who is obviously talented.  He can throw the football but he is also tough. He hangs in the pocket and he makes plays and he prepares as hard as anybody -- what their game plan is and what he is going to do.  He is a competitor and a guy that works hard and does a great job of making plays out there and getting this team ready.

Q:  How much more are you able to audible now?

A:  We audible some.  It is just a matter of kind of what --- it depends on the game; it depends on the look that the defense gives you.  So a lot of it is just earning the right to –  the coaches trust you to be able to audible from pass to run or change pass plays.  So it is just a matter of just kind of earning the coaches' trust that you are going to get us into good plays and get us out of bad plays and whatnot.  So there is not a percentage, it just depends from game to game.

Q:  You ever kid around with David Tyree that he got too much credit for the catch?

A:  No, it was a great catch and obviously David hasn't been around a whole lot due to the fact that he has been injured.  But we talked about it some last year afterwards and through the offseason and whatnot.  But it was a great play by him and I'm glad he made the catch.

Q:  Did you every think you didn't get enough credit?

A:  I don't really care who gets the credit.  The play was made and I give David all of the credit.  He is the one that made the great catch.  That is all that matters.

Q:  Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward running for 1,000.  Is their unselfishness added to the team's success?

A:  Yeah, I think that 'team' attitude that we have.  It is not about numbers or who has success.  It is about winning games.  I think that is something this team has really done a great job of doing.  And when you have that attitude it just spreads.  The running backs do it, the offensive line they don't care who gets credit, the receivers don't care who gets touchdowns.  I don't care if we run or throw the ball. It doesn't make a difference to me about stats and who's kind of success after that game.  Are we winning games?  And that is the only thing that matters.  I think that is a great attitude to have and something that we rely on and we preach and we play that way.

RE:  Eagles defense.

A:  They are just talented.  They have talented players all over.  At cornerback they have guys who can make interceptions and can make plays.  Their front four can get to the quarterback without blitzing – just in a regular pass rush.  When they do blitz they have a complex blitz package that they are using to get to the quarterback and making plays; not only getting sacks but causing fumbles.  So they have playmakers all over the field.  So you just have to have a great preparation knowing when you have problems, knowing how they solve some of their problems that they present. So it is just a week where you have to have a great week of preparation; have a great game plan and go out there and execute.

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