- Eli aims again for 70 percent completions, single-digit interceptions.**
After a forgettable year in 2013, quarterback Eli Manning bounced back last season with career highs in completions (379), attempts (601) and completion percentage (63.1) while posting 30 touchdowns and 4,410 yards (both second-best in his 11-year career). But perhaps the most important stat was nearly halving his interception total, which decreased from 27 to 14 over one year. But Manning knows there is still room to get better in his second season with offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.
"I would like to get that in single digits," Manning said of his interceptions. "I think that is kind of a goal every year. That eight number. You would obviously like to have zero, but understanding football and funny things can happen, so one every two games (is the) mindset. Overall completion percentage, you aim for that 70 percent again. I think of that from a game to game standpoint. I want to be 70 percent for this game. It might not happen every single game, but if you can go for that by game, sometimes you might not get it, and for the season it might not be 70 percent, but each game shoot for that 70 percent."
2. Victor and Eli reconnected at Duke.
During his annual workout with receivers at Duke University, Manning was able to spend some time on the field with Victor Cruz, whose first year as an offensive co-captain was ended by a knee injury in Week 6.
"Obviously we were doing some different things those last ten games than we did the first six," Manning said. "Just hearing the verbiage, hearing everything again, the ins and outs of the whole offense, he was able to spot-up for some things, some light jogging. I didn't want him to push anything or do anything that [he] would have any setbacks, but just catching passes and hearing plays called and thinking about what he has to run."
3. There is still room for improvement with Odell.
Odell Beckham Jr.'s breakout campaign didn't begin like it ended. Rather, the first-round draft choice missed much of the offseason as well as the first four games with hamstring issues before going on to be named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. But now Beckham begins his first full offseason program in the NFL.
"We didn't have an offseason," Manning said of working with Beckham last year. "We didn't have a training camp to practice those things. Odell was doing a great job of getting separation and winning on things, and he does have great body control and he is precise in his route running, so it makes it easier to be on the same page without a whole lot of practice. I think we can definitely get better with our timing. There were still some miscues and definitely room for improvement."
4. Vereen to visit the White House with his former team and defending Super Bowl champs.
After spending his first four NFL seasons in New England and winning the Super Bowl last year, running back Shane Vereen is excited to begin his new life as a New York Giant. But there is one last page to turn. The defending champions are scheduled to visit the White House on Thursday, and no one can pass on a chance to meet the President of the United States.
"Very excited, very excited," Vereen said. "It always has been something I have wanted to do. I can check it off my bucket list. I am looking forward to meeting the president."
5. Beason updated his status.
After Cruz, Jon Beason became the second of the Giants' five captains to be lost for the season because of injuries. The veteran linebacker suffered a toe injury which eventually required surgery and missed the final nine games of 2014. Beason said today that his main focus right now is to be fully healthy leading into the opener.
"I feel when healthy, I am the best in the game, and that is my motto going into the 2015 campaign," he said. "It is no different. I am going to be healthy every game and instead of talking about every game, my focus is the opener and to have practiced the whole week and go out there and play prepared as opposed to just playing for will and your mental capacity based on how long you have been in the league and just being a veteran."
6. Beason talked to Pierce, Vilma about Spags.
When Beason was a rookie with the Carolina Panthers in 2007, his future team, the New York Giants, rode one of the best defenses in the league all the way to a Super Bowl title. Now Beason will play for the architect of that unit, Steve Spagnuolo, who begins his second stint as the team's defensive coordinator. Beason said Monday that he's had conversations with some of Spags' former players, including Antonio Pierce and Jonathan Vilma, about what to expect.
"I was a big fan of Antonio Pierce," Beason said. "When I watched him it was more so what he did for his fellow teammates. The way he got them in the right defense and was able to not be dictated by the offense and that made me a big fan of Spags. Obviously [the Giants] were one of the top defenses that year and they won the whole thing. In my opinion, based on being led on a great defensive team and I was always a fan of his from afar. Now having the opportunity to play for him is something I really look forward to it. I did have a conversation with Antonio Pierce and Jonathan Vilma and they all had good things to say about him. I am looking forward to it and just trying to do my part and make sure I live up to the hype."
7. Beason will lead by example.
With the departure of defensive co-captain Antrel Rolle, the Giants can turn in large part to Beason, who became a leader on the defense almost overnight after signing midway through the 2013 season.
"You harp on leadership and it is important," Beason said. "I think leadership boils down to want-to. People follow the guy who is really there for a purpose and a reason. If that reason is to be productive and win football games at all costs, then guys tend to follow you. For me and this team, especially losing a great player, great person and a true competitor like Antrel Rolle, I am challenging guys to lead by being on time, staying late and studying, by trying to be blameless and do their job at a high level and be consistent at it. That is the leader that I am looking to follow."
The Giants players returned to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center for offseason workouts