QB Eli Manning
Q: Are you easing back into it after the 10-day break or picking up where you left off?
A: I think we'll meet tomorrow, get our game plan on Washington and get a little jump start on the review of them and so when we come to practice on Wednesday, we're ready to go. I think we treat it like, hey, it's the last game of the season, we want to go out there and play well and get a win. The mindset is the same, that we want to go out there and play good football.
Q: What was this weekend like for you and finding out you got the result you needed to get in?
A: Obviously it was exciting when the Saints won and knew that we were in the playoffs. That was a good moment, that we were in. Got to enjoy the weekend, made the weekend a little bit better knowing that we were in the playoffs and enjoyed the holidays and Christmas with family. It's not about just getting into the playoffs. The mindset is to come back to work this week and finish the regular season strong and feel like we have a good thing going into the playoffs.
Q: What would your take be as far as sitting out and taking a break on Sunday?
A: My take is to play. I think to go in there, play well and try to find a good rhythm offensively going against a team in the division, a team you know well and they know us. I think that's the mindset. Until I'm told differently, that's how I'm taking it.
Q: Do you think it's important for the offense that you guys do go out there and play full on Sunday?
A: We want to do whatever coach thinks is best. Again, I think I'm looking forward to having a great week of preparation and go out there and play a game and continue to work and see. I feel like we've been close offensively, just keep making strides and go play another game and try to get a win.
Q: Is your thought process affected at all by the injuries to Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota over the weekend and three years ago when you hurt your ankle and missed the second-half in the last game of the regular season?
A: No. That's for the coach to think about, I guess. As a player, you don't think about injuries and you know that's a part of the game and you go out there and you play tough and you play your regular game and you can't be worried about be worried about that.
Q: You went through a similar situation back in 2007, do you look at back on that and see the benefit that came out of that game?
A: I guess there's benefits either way you look at it. Obviously '07, we clinched the spot and the playoffs and couldn't make a difference in the last game whether we won or loss. But we went and played the Patriots, played well offensively and got into a good rhythm, kind of took that confidence into the playoffs. I think we're going to be confident going into the playoffs no matter what. But, again, I don't think there's a right or wrong decision here. The mindset, we've got a game to play, I'm going to be ready to play. The offense and the team is going to be ready to play and go out there and do our job and just take it from there.
Q: You obviously have a history of raising your level in the playoffs. Do you feel like you need to play better heading into the playoffs?
A: I think you've got to play good football in the playoffs. You're going to be going against good teams. You've got to play smart and you've just got to make the plays that are there. We have that capability of scoring points and moving the ball and converting on third downs and doing all the right things offensively. We're just going to have to make the plays on game day.
Q: How about you personally?
A: Yeah, same thing. Make the throws, make the plays, make good decisions, move around the pocket, extend plays, do all the things that I know I'm capable of.
Q: Does your streak and consecutive start streak play into your thinking at all?
A: No, that doesn't play in. I'm going to whatever coach McAdoo thinks is best for the team, best for me, best for us going forward, and that won't play a factor.
Q: Your brother Peyton had several instances in Indianapolis where he rested or played a little bit and then basically took the rest of the game off. The only time they won a Super Bowl they played hard and they had to win that last game and they played all the rounds in the playoffs. Have you discussed that dynamic with him of what it's like to get a little break?
A: No, I haven't discussed that with him. I don't know if that was his decision or coming from the coach and doing whatever they thought is best for their team in those circumstances.
Q: Do you feel at all it would help to rest your arm a little bit if you treated it like an exhibition game?
A: No, my arm is live and ready and can throw. It's trained to play this many games and to go through it. I'm already coming off a 10-day break, so it'll be fine. Again, whatever Coach McAdoo decides. My thought is to play; I haven't thought about sitting. My whole mindset these past couple of days and today is getting prepared for Washington and my preparation and my study and to go out there and play well.
Q: Are you going to pay much attention to all those various games around the conference in terms of who you're going to be playing in the wild card game?
A: Yeah, I guess. You're going to want to know who you're playing in the playoffs. I know there's a lot of scenarios, I know you're not going to know until next week, so I think it's just a matter of when certain teams are playing next week and when everything will be decided. Again, focus will be Washington and after that you're going to have some curiosity as to who you'll be facing the following week.
Q: Do you have a preference?
A: No, no preference. You don't really have a say in it, so just find out who it's going to be.
Q: In your experience, is it easier to play a team in the playoffs that you've played during the regular season?
A: I don't know if it's easier. I guess if it's a team you've played recently, then you have a little idea of what their scheme is and about certain players and whatnot. But, however it works out, we'll be well prepared and we'll get adjusted and have a good plan.
Q: Clearly there are a mix of guys on the team that have and have not been to the playoffs. What advice do you give the guys who haven't?
A: I don't think there's a whole lot of advice you can give. You've got to get prepared to play a game. There's always going to be a different vibe to it and an understanding that it's must win and win to keep playing. Just have a great week of preparation and get prepared to go out there and play your best game.
Q: I know everyone was in their separate places this weekend. Did you talk to anybody or exchange messages with teammates?
A: Sure, yeah, you definitely text a few guys and with the coaches and teammates and get excited about continuing the season.
Q: Anybody stand out as the most excited?
A: Tough to tell during text some times. I think everybody is excited.
Q: The fact that you guys clinched, does it put the last couple of years in perspective as to how hard it was to get back to the playoffs?
A: Yeah, you realize that it is difficult. Things have got to go your way and you've got to win close football games, you've got to catch some breaks and it's not easy. It's not easy to make the playoffs and you kind of see that with how many teams that are still on the bubble this weekend, good teams. It's a great tribute to way the way we've played this season and found ways to wins football games. Just excited about the opportunity to be in the playoffs and have a chance to win a championship.
LB Jonathan Casillas
Q: Did you send any texts to your old pals in New Orleans thanking them for this weekend?
A: You know what? I did. I sent out a tweet and an Instagram and I think the New Orleans Saints retweeted it, as a matter of fact. It said, 'Thank you. From the playoff bound Giants.'
Q: What was it like to watch the games this weekend and you have no control, but I am sure you had some strong rooting interests?
A: It was very interesting. We wish we could have handled it ourselves on Thursday night. That would have been definitely a less suspenseful weekend for me, but it is what it is. That is how the tide works. The NFL is a tough league and playing a game like that against a rival, in Philly, in a hostile environment and it was a crazy night that night, as in Philly fans were out strong. It was a good game, a hard fought game and we couldn't overcome the early surge from them and that is how it works sometimes in the NFL.
Q: At least you didn't have to root for the Cowboys.
A: Yes, yes. that would have not been fun at all to do that.
Q: We talked to Eli about the possibility of Coach McAdoo resting some guys. From a defensive perspective, what are your thoughts about potentially resting or minimizing some of the snaps of the starters? Can that interrupt the continuity and the rhythm that the defense is in?
A: Well, the good thing about our defense is that there is really not too many guys that don't come off the field, besides maybe Landon Collins. Everybody else, I wouldn't call them situational, but we are all role players. There is really not one guy, besides Landon, that stays on the field, so everybody has a chance, the backups have chances to play and start games in different packages. So whatever McAdoo decides to do, I am sure that it will be a good plan for us and we are going to trust his thoughts and his opinions and his process.
Q: When you were in New Orleans and with the Patriots and you won it, I think you did rest some guys. Do you think that that helped during those years at all?
A: Yeah, I believe so. Especially if you have got guys who are banged up or are in the injury report and can possibly play, but an extra week of rest would be fantastic. I think that we do have guys like that and like I said, if McAdoo wants to do that, then so be it. But we still want to finish this regular season strong and Washington has beat us already, so that would be tough if we go in not trying to beat Washington. Do you understand what I am saying? And I think McAdoo is the guy that wants to beat Washington for sure.
Q: How are you? You were on the injury report last week. Are you in that banged up group that you are talking about?
A: Yeah, I mean there is probably like 90 percent of the guys that are in that group right there, so I do a pretty good job of taking care of myself, but there are things that are out of your control sometimes. So Ronnie Barnes, the head trainer, and McAdoo, I know they are going to have a plan for me whether that involves me going full this week or limited or what have you and we will figure out what I am going to be doing for the game. But I want to play. I never want to miss time. If I have to miss time, so be it. I don't even like missing practice. I feel like all of those reps are very conducive to my play on the field, so we will see what we decide to do.
Q: Do you have a preference when it comes to the playoffs in terms of facing a team that you have played during the regular season?
A: Well, from my experience, is you have to take whatever comes to you. I feel like if you say something like, 'I don't want to play outside' or 'I would rather play indoors, in the south and we played them and they are a familiar opponent', but then if you end up indoors and you wanted to be outdoors which is not likely, but if you wanted to be indoors and then you end up outdoors in the cold in Green Bay, then you might feel like, 'Oh, snap.' It is like you are mentally defeating yourself before it happens, so I feel like as a team and as a unit, we should embrace whoever we get Week 1 or for the Wild Card and whoever we get, we embrace it with open arms and just be thankful that we had an opportunity to play in the game, no matter where it is at.
Q: Do you feel like this defense is playing as well as it can or do you think there is some more upside despite how well it has been going lately?
A: Oh, I definitely think that there is more upside. I think that once we get a couple guys back, Jackrabbit missed last week -- I think that we have been going in the right direction. There has been a lot of good, a little bad there, but a lot to learn from and we have been a collective group that has gotten better and has progressed throughout the season and I am looking forward to doing the same, especially finishing this week against a tough rival in the Washington Redskins, finishing up the regular season and then propelling us to the playoffs and I am very excited with where this defense is going.
Q: You mentioned beating the Redskins. Is there any motivation with beating them and knocking them out?
A: Yeah, I mean it isn't about them, though, it is about us. I don't care where they land at, if they make the playoffs or not, and I never did. But for us, we have to play good ball and go in the right direction. We can't digress in any type of way. We cannot afford to do that. It is not like we have the luxury of a Dallas where they have home field advantage and they have the rest week in the first week bye. We don't have that luxury, so it would be good to have guys precise, whether we are resting guys or not, but being precise at practice, having the right looks and making sure that the rust is not setting in and getting guys back on the field, the guys that were in tub and training room as well, so it is a collective amount of things that are going to go into this week and into the playoffs, but I am looking forward to the process.