When he was named the Giants' quarterbacks coach on March 1, Sean Ryan became the hands-on tutor for Eli Manning, a player with few – if any- obvious flaws.
Manning had recently completed a season in which he won his second Super Bowl MVP award and set franchise records for passes, completions and yards. So it's understandable if Ryan had trouble pinpointing an area in which he wanted the nine-year veteran to improve.
Turns out he didn't have to.
"I think every good player, great players like he is, Super Bowl MVP-type of players, you almost don't have to do that because they want to get better," Ryan said. "He sits down after the season and says, 'This is what I can improve on and this is what I need to do.' And you just reinforce that. You bring another aspect to it – 'Hey, did you think about this? Can we work on this? But those great players, they're that way because they push themselves. So you're not in a position where having to always point out to him. He comes to you with things – 'Hey, I want to work on this. I know I can get better here.' Because he's like that as a player, it makes that easy part of my job."
Ryan and Manning did target one area of Manning's game they've worked on extensive in training camp at the University at Albany.
"We spent a lot of time with our movement in the pocket, which is something he improved on last year," Ryan said. "But we're continuing to work on moving in the pocket and keeping our eyes downfield and having good throwing mechanics when we're ready to pull the trigger after we've had to move in and out of the pocket. I think he's really refocused on that. We worked on that. It's something he improved on last year. Always, your decision-making and your ball security, year-in and year-out for every quarterback in the league… especially him, he's very in tune with that and knows how important that is. It's another thing we talk about all the time we work on."
Ryan spent the previous two seasons coaching the Giants' wide receivers, a position in which he was instrumental in the development of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. The Giants currently have 11 receivers on their roster and only three quarterbacks, including backups David Carr and Ryan Perrilloux. Because he leads a smaller group, the dynamic of Ryan's discussions with his players has changed.
"The meetings become more of a discussion," he said. "There's a lot of give and take. It's got that coach feel to it because there are only four guys in the room, including myself. It's definitely different than having a group of fourteen guys in the room. It's different but I found it really increases the amount of give and take between you and the players. So I've enjoyed it."