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Quotes (12/24): Manning, McClain

QB Eli Manning

Q: Do you have any feelings knowing that this is the end of the season?
A: We've kind of known our circumstance the last few weeks and we just want to finish strong. We've been playing pretty good football lately. I thought we've had great focus and good practices so far this week, and so we want to go out and finish strong and continue our progress that we've been making these last few weeks and try to get a win versus a good team.


Q: What has to change from the first time you played Philadelphia? **
A: We've got to make some plays offensively. The first time we played them, we had some opportunities to hit some big plays and we just didn't quite get to. They did a good job of getting some pressure on some things, but I think everyone has got to play a little bit better and make some plays.

Q: They're second in the NFL in sacks. What is the strength of their pass rush?
A: They've got good players. They like to bring pressure, but they have a number of guys who win their one-on-one matchups a lot, and so we've got to get the ball out quick in a timely fashion and the receivers have got to do a good job of getting open. They do a good job of getting to the quarterback, so we've got to be prepared for that.

Q: How do you improve upon the last time you played the Eagles?
A: I think it's more about finishing the season strong. Every time you play a team, it's going to be a different game. It's not going to repeat itself. We understand they are a talented team and we've got to play well. We've got to be smart and understand their looks, but I think we'll have some chances to move the ball and score some points.

Q: How is your team better equipped than you were in Week 6 to play the Eagles?
A: We've been through more as a unit, as an offense. There's probably a little better understanding of the offense and what we're trying to do and everybody's assignments and the timing and rhythm. I think we've grown a lot since that game, but we've got to continue to grow and be sharp and execute the game plan at a high level.

Q: What would it mean to win the final game of the season against the Eagles?
A: It's the next game and, as professionals, we understand we've got a job to do. We've been understanding that all year and have dealt with the tough situation that we've been in and not playing well for a while, but we've come out of that little funk and have been playing good football. So we want to continue that and end the season on a high note. We know for the next six months… usually it's the last game that you think about the most, so we want to have positive memories of this game.

Q: Earlier, Victor Cruz said he was looking forward to coming back and playing with Odell Beckham Jr. What will it be like for you to have those two players together next season?
A: The more weapons you have and having those two weapons on the field will be a great combination for us. We'll look forward to that next year, but right now we're focused on finishing this season strong. We're looking forward to having Victor back in the mix.

Q: Will you be able to share enough of the ball between the two of them?
A: We'll figure out a way. You can never have too many weapons, especially with those two guys. I think all of the receivers are close to each other. They're friends. They support each other. They want everybody else to do well and as long as we're scoring touchdowns and winning games, everybody is usually pretty happy.

Q: How has Odell Beckham Jr. and the rest of the rookies contributed to the team's success the last couple of games?
A: Odell has had a big impact. He's been making a lot of big plays for us. Anytime a young guy can come in and help out and be a threat and teams have got to game plan for him, it helps out the team, it helps out the other receivers and the running game. It should have a big impact on the whole offense and us winning games.

Q: Are guys learning how to win?
A: I feel like we're figuring out ways to win. I thought in the Washington game, in a close game, we kind of came on strong in the third and fourth quarters, making plays. I thought this past game versus the Rams was the same deal. We started off hot. We had a lead at halftime. They cut it down to seven and we hit some big plays and we kept moving and kept playing smart and playing more of a complete game, which we haven't had all season. We kind of had good parts and bad parts and we'd mix it together, but we're playing more solid for four quarters and that's what you need to do to win in this league.

Q: How important is it to learn to win?
A: I think it is important. I think it's important for that group of guys to come together to figure that out. It comes when you do have some wins and you overcome obstacles and you deal with things. I think you have that expectation that you can handle whatever anybody throws at you. It might be a bad drive or a bad play, but you're going to erase it and be prepared with the mindset that you're going to be able to go win that game and I think that's where we're getting.

LB Jameel McClain

Q: When you look at the Eagles, how much have they changed since the last time you saw them.
A: Not much. It is still the same system. They are still going out there running a fast paced offense and getting after people with the same things they accomplished in the beginning. They haven't changed much, but the real question is how much have we changed.

Q: You say they haven't changed but the results haven't been as good in the last few weeks.
A: I don't think anything has changed about their number statistically. They are still in the top. RE: The wins.
A: It's a 'any given Sunday' game. Sometimes the football just doesn't roll in your favor. As far as statistically, they are still doing great things. LeSean McCoy is still one of the top running backs in this league. So that is nothing to downplay at all.


Q: How much have you guys changed? **
A: I think we changed drastically. I think we have learned to trust each other better than we had in the beginning of the season. I think we understand the idea of fundamentals and understanding the idea of the scheme, and with that, we become a different team than what you have seen before. I hope that my teammates will continue to prove me right and understand that we are focused on the fundamentals and hopefully this game will be our last testament.

Q: The way you guys are rolling right now, it is almost a shame the season has to end this week, isn't it?
A: I guess, it is, but I guess, it isn't. All good things come to an end. Fortunately, we've got a chance to get on a roll and ultimately we want to carry this momentum into the next go-round. We want our young guys to understand that fighting is what this NFL is about, this league is about. Finishing on a high note will give us momentum going into the offseason. I am already looking into the offseason, with getting this game accomplished and now focusing on the journey, the Giants organization.

Q: When you talk about how the team has changed from that first game in Philadelphia, what did you learn from that game?
A: We have to believe in each other ultimately, we have to play the assignment, we have to know exactly what is going on, through chaos becomes order. We've got to have order through all of the chaos of the game. That is what we learned from our study, that is what we learned from our losses, to that extent. Hopefully we can prove that this week, that we understand that and we know how to overcome any situation.

Q: What does it mean to even out the season series, to get that win against them?
A: It means everything to win, ultimately. It means something to win, something to win against your rivals and all of that. Really, it means something so special for us to finish as a team and as a unit to go into next season with that type of momentum. "Alright, we clicked. We did it. Alright, now let's just transition, let's just keep it rollin'.' It means a lot for my teammates, it means a lot for everything we have been building. As far as the Eagles, no disrespect to the Eagles, but this is bigger than them, this is about us, every game is about us. This is the last testament to show that it is about us.

Q: This is going to be the last game you play with some of these guys, maybe even some of these coaches. Does that kind of factor into your mind at all?
A: At the end of the season, that is always one part of the thought process. This could be the last time I play with this person, so I want to give my all. I want to do everything I can do to, whether if it is the person's last time playing with me, we all want to ride off into the sunset with happy feelings either way. That is the goal. Sometimes you do think about that. This is the NFL, and that is just what the NFL is. We don't get players for four or five years guaranteed.

Q: Is it hard to carry over what you started at the end of this season to next season?
A: I don't think it is hard to carry over. In my experience, from what I've seen, I have seen it transition. I have seen seasons in my experience where we have lost in the AFC Championship game and came back the next year and went to the Super Bowl. Just learning off of those mistakes, and that is what we have done through this season. Gradually, slowly but surely, we have learned from our mistakes and not made those same mistakes. If you can take that into the next season with the talent that we have, the upside is amazing.

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