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Eli building chemistry with new targets


QB Eli Manning has been establishing a connection with newcomers in the receiving corps:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Eli Manning is establishing a clear connection with the Giants' newcomers who will be two of his most frequent targets this season.

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"I think we're doing some good stuff, Brandon (Marshall) and I, getting on the same page," Manning said today. "Every day there's something new that comes up, though. A route here, a concept, just getting on the same timing. You can kind of talk about everything, but you've got to get in as many live reps, one-on-ones, get running different routes, getting on the same timing with things will be good. Same with (tight end) Evan (Engram, the team's first-round draft choice). He's making some plays, doing a lot of good things, but the more one-on-ones, the more situations, different things coming up every practice. There's something to learn from it every day."

Marshall, a 12-year veteran, is already a major presence in the wide receivers and offensive meeting rooms.

"Brandon's been great," Manning said. "Every day trying to learn, always has questions for me and we're trying to figure out what he can do better, how we can get on the same page. So I think he's been dialed in and been a great leader and just setting the example for how to be prepared for every practice."

"I think he's a tremendous communicator," coach Ben McAdoo said of Marshall. "I found that out the first time I met with him, we had a nice conversation, we sat down one-on-one and talked about what we wanted to get out of this, on both sides. He's a guy that speaks from the heart and he's a tremendous communicator and I think that's rubbing off on some guys in the room."

One thing Marshall can't give to the other receivers is his size. At 6-5, he stands two inches above the next-tallest receiver, rookie Jerome Lane. The other starters are 5-11 Odell Beckham, Jr. and 5-10 Sterling Shepard.

Manning hasn't had such a tall wideout to throw to regularly since 6-5 Plaxico Burress, who was a Giant from 2005-08. In his first season here, Burress caught 76 passes for 1,214 yards and seven touchdowns, figures Marshall certainly hopes to exceed this year.

"They're both similar height," Manning said. "And just smarts on football, body control, being able to go up and get the ball. So yeah, I'd say some definite similarities there. Obviously, Plaxico, had a number of years playing with him, so I knew what he was going to do, knew how to read his body. I knew whether it was going to be a back shoulder versus a fly or a jump ball. So we need more live reps doing that.

"Those big guys, you have an opportunity to throw them open. They can be physical at the line of scrimmage and get some separation that way, where the quick guys make moves. So Brandon does a good job finding ways to get open. Whether it's being physical with the DBs, or throwing the back shoulders, throwing the fly routes, going up and get the ball.  I can always just have separation with the quick guys, but they're still getting open in a different way."

Engram is no slouch in the height department at 6-3. But in addition to picking up the offense, he is learning how to be a successful NFL player, which Marshall learned years ago. Manning tries to help his fellow Ole Miss alum without oiling on too much information.

"I think it's a little bit of both," he said. "You don't want to baby him too much, you want to see what he can gather. You want to give him a little heads up of what might be coming, though. Don't just surprise a bunch of things on him, so in practice he's scared, or a little lost, or indecisive. So give him a heads up of what might be coming, talk a lot through to him and then see what he can handle. You want to be prepared for the upcoming season, you don't want to be held back and say, 'Hey, I can't check into a certain play because you might not know what it is.' You need to know what everything is, based on what's in the system."

*Other Manning musings four days before the Giants' preseason opener vs. Pittsburgh:

*He did not play in the first and last preseason games in 2016. Did he get enough action to prepare for the season?

"I think I got enough action over the last 14 years to get me ready for the upcoming season," he said.

*Was it an adjustment to get fewer preseason snaps?

"Whatever Coach wants to do, what he thinks is best for me, the team, I'm going to do," Manning said. "Again, for the first preseason game, you might take six or seven snaps. So it's not like it's going to make a difference for that upcoming season. I think you've got enough reps in practice, enough reps in the second and third (preseason games) and obviously 13 other years of preseason and regular season games should get me in good rhythm."

*On whether the videos that have surfaced of the players dancing in the locker room is a sign that players are loose and close with one another:

"They're having fun," Manning said. "That's always training camp, there's going to be different things. You've got to enjoy this time, it is a lot of practice, it's a lot of meetings, it is hard work and there are hot days and those things. But there's always those little 30-minute stretches where you have down time and guys get to mess around. It used to be, you did it at night, or you did it when you were in the dorm rooms, or hanging out, or playing pranks. Now, there's not much time at the hotel. You get done late and you're kind of back in your room. So, that time has kind of come into the locker room during the day, where you get little breaks, where I guess they've turned into dance parties now. So that's the new thing."

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