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QB Eli Manning on offseason program


Q:  Are you excited to be back?
A:  Definitely.  It is good to be back, to be around all of the guys again and seeing everybody after a two-month break and getting back to work and start discussing the things we need to change; things we need to improve on and get to working on them.

Q:  You talked about the things that you need to change and work on.  Can you talk about the adjustments that you are looking to make with Mario and Brandon gone.
A:  Obviously we are going to need some guys to step up.  At the receiver spot we have that third receiver – it is going to be some tryouts for us.  Some guys who - Ramses Barden and Hixon and Jernigan and whoever else is going to be here, they are going to be competing for that spot.   So that should be good.  You have good competition.  Obviously some running backs trying to come in and help them out.  We would like to use multiple running backs and then Kareem McKenzie at tackle.  So we have some spots to fill, but that happens every year.  Everybody is always competing for their job in this League.  It is always competitive.  So everybody has to keep working hard.

Q:  Scott said one of the things he really wants to do is gain your trust, particularly with the protections in the backfield.  How much will you be trying to reach out to younger guys?
A:  I think we are always trying to get the new guys – younger guys – caught up to where the starters are – to where Ahmad is and the understanding of the offense.  And so obviously experience is the greatest way of learning.  But just getting the reps, just getting into the meeting room – taking those practice days and if they have questions have time to talk it over with them.  And get them on the field and discuss things so they will have a true understanding of what is going on.

Q:  When you return as a World Champ and you know what is ahead and how difficult it is to look back, where does the motivation come from when you know you will be getting a ring next month?
A:  I think the motivation is always trying to improve; always trying to get better; always trying to become a better player.  Sometimes you can't worry about winning a championship next year.  You know how difficult that is; you know that a lot of things have to happen.  But you can't always control that.  You can control making sure you are doing everything you can to be prepared – to get your workouts, to be in shape.  Make sure you are doing everything you can to try to stay healthy and get your teammates mentally and physically ready for the season.  So that is what we are doing right now.  We are working hard.  We are getting prepared and figuring out ways to get better.

Q:  How much are you looking forward to May 5 and SNL?
A:  I am looking forward to it.  Saturday Night Live will be fun and it will be a new experience for me.  Right now I am probably more anxious than anything just to kind of figure out what I might be doing.  I might be doing something that is a little bit out of my character or uncomfortable.  But I'm looking forward to just working hard that week and having a lot of laughs and being prepared.

Q:  Would you describe to us how you might be preparing for that on your own as far as –  doing any impersonations of yourself  – are you consulting with your brother –what are you doing to just kind of prepare for your performance?
A:  Right now I'm not doing a whole lot to prepare for it.  Right now I have two good weeks of preparing for football and getting my workouts and being back up here that week before.  You have a lot of skits.  I have talked to Peyton a little bit so I just understand the schedule.  Before I made the decision to do it, I asked for a complete schedule of what was the most I could possibly do – what was the most they have ever asked anyone to do.  And they sent that over and I looked at it.  I saw that I would not miss a workout or I would not miss any meetings or not miss any team activities here.  So that is always my first priority – is making sure I'm here with the players – here with my teammates and doing everything I can here and then afterwards I can get into the city and do my preparation there and prepare for that.

Q:  Are you going to the film room and look at what other athletes have done on the show?
A:  I haven't.  Obviously there have been a few – Derek Jeter and Tom Brady and Peyton and LeBronand Michael Phelps.  Even going back to the olden, golden days, I guess, there are quite a few.  But I haven't watched much film on them right now.  Maybe when I get there and they have some cutups or they have some highlight reel, I can start looking at a few.

Q:  Do you watch the show very much?
A:  Growing up, always watched it.  If I'm home on a Saturday night I will usually check it out and see what was going on.  I know a lot of the cast members already.  I'm looking forward to getting around them and seeing what they have planned for me.

Q:  Did Peyton send you a copy of the United Way?
A:  No, I have obviously seen it before.  That was a good one.  So hopefully I can have one as popular as that one.

Q:  Who is your favorite cast member?
A:  I don't want to be picking favorites right now.  It is kind of like asking, "Who is your favorite receiver?"  You can get in trouble answering those questions.  So whoever can write the funniest script for me will probably be my favorite one afterwards.

Q:  How long does it take to turn the page on the Super Bowl win and start focusing on something new?
A:  I think once you get back here for the offseason workouts.  My focus is on this season.  There is no point re-living last year.  There will be a few moments - obviously when we have the ring ceremony – when you go to the White House and do those things you are celebrating getting your ring and the fact that you are champs.  But from a preparation standpoint and from being in here, I think our focus is definitely on this season – getting prepared and getting ready.

Q:  When Peyton was going through all of his signing stuff, did he ever call you up and say, "What do you think?"
A:  I talked to him.  We are brothers and I talked to him about some of the places, or the coaches or things I knew about certain offenses and what not.  So I definitely had several discussions with him.  And I think it is good for him to have someone to talk to and good for him to bounce some ideas off someone to see if he is thinking correctly.  But I'm just happy that he will be in uniform next year.

Q:  You reaction when he chose Denver?
A:  I was just excited for him.  Excited that, again, number one that he will just be playing football and excited that he has made a choice and he can put all of that behind him and just focus on getting ready to play this year.

Q:  Would you comment about the John Elway factor?
A:  I don't know what that factor is, so no; I don't have a comment on that.

Q:  It seemed like everybody was doing a lot of things in the offseason.  Did you kind of lay low – just relax and things like that?
A: Yeah, I was just tired.  It is a long season.  I was excited after the season.  I was here about four or five days in the city and then went back to Mississippi and just kind of relaxed and kind of laid low.  I took a few trips with my wife and daughter.  I knew this spring when I got back it was going to be a lot of hard work and I was going to be busy doing things.  I just wanted to make sure that I got my rest and got a full recovery during that time off.

Q: Are you intrigued at all about what Jets are doing the Tebow – how they are going to make that whole thing work?
A:  I don't know if 'intrigued' is the right word. Obviously being in the same city you see what is going on and you hear things, but it obviously not a big concern for me.

Q:  The 10 or so guys that are still here from the last championship – what do you think you learned by the following season that you can apply this time?
A:  I thought we got off to a great start that year.  We were playing great football.  Toward the end we didn't finish as strong.  We lost a few guys and some injuries and things went on.  But I think we had a pretty good approach after that one; a good mindset and a good work ethic, and taking kind of the attitude that we still have something to prove.  They called it a fluke and we got hot at the right time but we were still not a great team. That should be the mindset.  We have to be more consistent.  We have to be better throughout the whole season and not have these streaks of good play and bad play.

Q:  What do you think about some of the changes? You lost some really good guys.
A:  Yeah, we obviously lost some good players, good teammates, good friends.  And that is the tough part about this league and free agency.  And that is the way things are.  You are always going to lose some players that are important to the organization, to our success – guys who have helped you win championships.  So you can't use that as an excuse for anything.  You also have new guys coming in and talented guys who have been here a few years who have been waiting for their turn to step up.  Now they are going to get it and hopefully they can play at a high level and fill those roles.

Q:  About this time last year you were working out in Hoboken.  What is it like not to have to go through that and just to be here working out with your teammates?
A:  It is obviously a lot better being here, having your coaches here, having a full weight room and coaches.  You can go outside and have a facility.  Everybody is around here.  You can walk through the locker room and say, "Hey, let's go throw some, or let's do this."  And you can just grab guys.  You don't have to text, e-mail and call and coordinate what field we are going to or if there is band practice going on or something – all of those things.  So it is a much smoother way to get better.

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