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Postgame interviews: Eli thanks fans in presser

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* The Giants meet the media following Sunday's matchup with the Redskins:  *

<span style="text-decoration: underline;">Quarterback Eli Manning</span>

Q: How did it feel hearing fans chant your name as you walked off the field?

A: It felt good just to get the win. After a tough year and a lot of tough games, to get the win and with the situation – we’ve got a lot of new guys playing today. Receivers, I’ve been working with them for a few weeks, but they made some plays. It wasn’t the prettiest game I’ve ever had, but to get this win, feel good for Coach Spags, for all the coaches. It’s not just been tough on players, this is tough on the coaches and the fans and everybody. So, it might not mean a whole lot when you look at it to get the third win, but it does mean something to the players. Guys have been working hard, they’ve been competing, they’ve been giving great effort all year and just to get a win and feel good in the locker room and have some cheers and have some hugs and kind of end this tough year on a good note is special.

Q: How do you think some of the receivers who were recently added to the roster responded to some of their first NFL games ever?

A: Yeah, I thought Hunter [Sharp], obviously got a touchdown, ran a great route, got a touchdown right there, so made some nice plays for us. [Marquise] Bundy, I don’t think we got him a catch, we tried to get it to him a few times. So, he’s still a young guy, got some learning to do. But I thought Travis [Rudolph] made some plays. We didn’t do a whole lot in the second half, but our offensive line started firing it off, I thought played well. There was some popping going on up front, so that was good to see. We ran the ball very well, it started with the second play on a huge run by Orleans [Darkwa].

Q: What did General Manager Dave Gettleman say to you outside the locker room?

A: He just said congratulations and we’ll talk soon.

Q: You haven’t had a chance to have a longer conversation with Gettleman yet?

A: No, I have not. So, I’m sure we’ll talk – I’m not sure when soon is, but we’ll talk soon.

Q: Are you aware that Gettleman said on Friday that his intention is to have you back as the starter next season?

A: Yeah, I mean I heard what he said Friday. So, again, I just wanted to finish the season and then I knew we’d talk sometime and figure out what direction he wants to go in and hopefully I’m part of that plan.

Q: Is it reassuring to hear something like that from Gettleman?

A: Well, I think we’ve just got to see what happens. So, again, when we talk – I always think the talks in person are more important than what’s said in the media. So, we’ll have a discussion and I look forward to that.

Q: When you walked off the field and waved to the fans, was that an acknowledgement of the uncertainty about your future?

A: No, I always do that at the fans. My family was up there, so I’m usually waving at them and waving at the crowd that was here today, that were calling my name, or chanting, that were here supporting us. So, you always appreciate the fans and especially the fans in a tough year and in this situation. Cold and not playing for much, to show up for this game and cheering the way they did and hanging in there, I appreciate that.

 

Q: Did you hear the fans chanting your name in the fourth quarter?

A: Yeah, I did, I heard them. And, again, I appreciate all the fans, their support this whole year. It’s been overwhelming and for them to support me, support the team the way they have, it’s been special.

Q: Now that the season is over, how difficult has it been for you?

A: Yeah, it’s probably been my toughest year of football, I would say. Obviously with the losses, with the injuries, with a benching and coming back and uncertainty and everything going on. But really, the losses more than anything probably. It’s tough, it’s tough to prepare every week and to put all the effort into it and to not get the outcomes you want. Especially some heartbreakers that we lost early on in the season and then we kind of started losing some of our personnel. So, it’s been tough, but hopefully we learn from it and grow from it.

Q: Is it still your preference to be the Giants’ starting quarterback Week 1 of next season?

A: Yeah, 100 percent. I don’t want to go play football anywhere else. This is where I want to play, this is my family, the New York Giants. So, hopefully they feel the same way and we can make that work out.

Q: Are you curious to see if the team selects a quarterback with the number two overall pick in the upcoming draft?

A: We’ll see. Obviously, we’ve got a while until April, so we’ll know a lot more by then.

Q: How strange was it to start the season with Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard as the starting wide receivers and then finish the season with who you had today?

A: Yeah, it’s tough. You spend all offseason, all summer, training camps, working on your timing, working on your rhythm, working on certain routes and then all the guys that you’ve kind of worked those many hours with [got injured]. Now, you’re throwing some routes to guys you haven’t thrown yet. Maybe you threw a certain route in practice to Bundy and now you’ve got Hunter running into the game. So, you hope they run it the way you think they are, but there’s always a little hesitation, or a little kind of holding it an extra second just to make sure they’re going to be in the right spot. So, it’s hard to be in rhythm and on time with a lot of things, but I thought they hung in there, they did a good job, knew their assignments and were able to make a couple plays for us.

<span style="text-decoration: underline;">Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo</span>

Opening Statement: Apologize first for being late, but it takes a long time to hug 80 some odd people – coaches and players, but it really felt good. Needless to say, really happy for our football team, the organization and the way we played today. I got to look at the film and all that, but it felt like Giants football. Ran the ball. Played good defense. Stopped them on third down. We probably would have liked to have converted a few more third downs ourselves, but I just so congratulate all the people involved. So happy. I appreciate them tremendously. I tried to convey that to everybody in there and it just feels really good. We’ve been chasing the feeling of being in a locker room on a Sunday or an NFL winning locker room. It feels special - all the work you put into it and it’s a week by week thing. But, the work you put in during the week is demanding. Our players, our coaches, they go through a lot. Our football staff. And, it’s rewarding. Prior to that, hadn’t been great, but this feels good and I think the organization can carry this into the next season.

Just to clarify one thing with our deactivations today. Ereck Flowers was deactivated because of an injury, OK? I know some other things were said out there, but he’s been fighting a groin all year long and just couldn’t do it this week. Having said that, I’ll open it up.

Q: How great has it been to see Rhett Ellison contribute over the past month?

A: Rhett is the kind of guy – I just told him when I hugged him – that I appreciate the value of players like him. I call them program guys. He’s not flashy, but he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s a pro. Studies it. Gets out there, practices every day. The league has a ton of those guys around the league and he’s one of them and I think he’s very, very valuable for this football team. Made some good plays today.

Q: You waited on the field to hug Eli Manning.

A: I did.

Q: What was that moment like for you?

A: Well, it was for him. I did ask the camera guy, ‘Can you get a picture when I hug Eli?’ Because, you know, it’s a memory. It’s a memory. We’ve both been through a lot and none more than him with this season, but he never changed. I value that in people that can stay that balanced through ups and downs. He’s had the highest of highs and this was certainly very, very low, but he’s a tremendous competitor and I appreciate him greatly.

Q: There was a point when Eli Manning was waving to fans coming off the field. Do you think he might be thinking that this is his swan song?

A: I don’t know that. I don’t think Eli – you’d have to ask him. He’s a competitor. I believe he’s got some football left – a lot of football in him. He’s a competitor. Competitors – they last in this league. They’re all over the place, especially that position. And, you need them.

Q: The new season starts tomorrow. What’s next for you?

A: Well, it’s offseason now. The season is over and the organization has to get rolling. We’ll see what unwinds. We got the exit physicals tomorrow from eight to 12, got a team meeting at 12 o’clock. I know Dave (Gettleman) wants to address the team, which is what you do. We’ll lay out what we have to do

going forward and then we’ll take it day by day.

Q: With the hiring of Dave Gettleman, was there extra motivation to start this era off well today?

A: It’s a great point, but it worked out that way, so that’s good. I’m not sure anyone was thinking like that. We were just chasing a win. Wanted to find a way to beat the Washington Redskins. We hadn’t had that feeling in a while and it feels good. Feels good.

Closing Statement: Can I do this? (My wife) Maria doesn’t watch these things or anything, but I want to thank her personally for her support.

<span style="text-decoration: underline;">Defensive End  Jason Pierre-Paul</span>

A: You never know when injuries will occur, but my main thing is guys didn’t quit throughout the whole season. We played all those games and I salute to them.

Q: What was it like going out there for this last game when there was really nothing to play for but pride?

A: We are all pros, it was more than just pride. Obviously, the so-called fans weren’t out there, but I appreciate all the fans that came out to show their support. Without them, it’s really just us. So, I appreciate the fans that came out. They didn’t have to but those are the true Giants fans, other than that it has been a rough year.

Q: What can you take away from this win?

A: It was just a team win. You can’t justify the season off of one win. Obviously we lost all the others. To me, it’s one win, I’m not satisfied with the season, but I’m happy we got this win. We worked hard for it. It was a team win and I’m happy.

*Q: You are a veteran here, are you happy with the way some of these young guys have developed? *

A: Every guy is going to develop differently. Whoever they hang around, that’s where they will get some wisdom from. Every guy develops different, I developed differently from Osi or Tuck, I picked their brains when I was young. They’re young, that’s really all I can say about it.

Q: You have a new GM and will have a new coach, how much change are you expecting?

A: I don’t really care, to tell you the truth. I know he is going to come in and do what he is supposed to do and give the coaches the hand that we need. Whatever he does, I’m behind him and I will be ready to play football next year.

Q: When does the culture start to take shape for next season

A: I don’t know, we got some time. In the offseason, that will develop.

<span style="text-decoration: underline;">Linebacker Devon Kennard </span>

Q: You guys contained (Kirk) Cousins pretty well today.
A: Yeah, definitely. I mean shoot, Ross (Cockrell) had a pick, Shep (Kelvin Sheppard) had two, a bunch of us had some sacks, it was a good day defensively.

*Q: Did you sense a new energy this week given the change at GM? *
A: I don’t know if that was it. Everybody knew this was the last week and we were like, ‘let’s put it out on the line and let it all hang out and we got nothing to lose.’ We know we’re not playing after today, let’s try to freakin get a win and we deserve it, the fans that have been loyal all year despite how things have gone, they deserve it and it’s been good.

*Q: What do you think the future holds for you now? *

A: We’ll see. I don’t know. We’ll see. I’ll be playing ball somewhere.

*Q: Is it hard to know what your status is with so much uncertainty here? *

A: Yeah, maybe you know. Do you know more than me? I’m not sure.

*Q: Do you want to be back here? *

A: The Giants organization means a lot to me. They are the organization that drafted me. Mr. (John) Mara and Mr. (Steve) Tisch, all the way down. First class organization and I would love to be here, but it’s not ultimately up to me. I guess we’ll see how the offseason goes and hopefully you guys will be bugging me in March and April and stuff.

*Q: Did that enter your mind today as you were walking off the field that this could be your last game with the Giants? *

A: I mean now that you say it, yeah. It’s emotional. The Giants organization took a chance on me in the fifth round and I had a chip on my shoulder when I came into the league and I feel like I’ve shown that I belong and this place means a lot to me. Coming from the west coast, never knowing anything about New York and now I feel at home here within this organization, within this city and it’s been a pleasure these last four years.

*Q: Do you feel like you’ve shown something this season heading into free agency? *

A: I think so. I feel like my whole career I’ve continued to show different things that I can do, what I’m capable of and I still don’t feel like I’ve played my best ball. I’m 26 years old, I’m going into my fifth year after today and I feel like my best ball is ahead of me and hopefully other people see it the same way.

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