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Quotes: Giants react after OTA practice


QB ELI MANNINGQ: How do you evaluate the passing game with some of your guys missing?**

A: I evaluate with how we're doing. I think we've had good days. I really do. I think the guys have stepped up. Rueben Randle and Jernigan and Louis Murphy and adding Ramses back into the mix… We have guys who are capable and have to play well and I think they're doing a good job. The rules of OTAs limit certain things. It's all off coverage. It's all pretty simple defenses, but guys are getting open. We're throwing the ball well, so I've been pleased with the way we've been looking the last few days. I think if we weren't looking really sharp and not getting open or not being as effective offensively, I would be frustrated with the circumstances, but the fact that we're doing well, I've been very pleased.

Q: Do you enjoy the time working with younger guys and guys you might not know as well?
A: Yeah. I think that's what you need. You need other guys to step up and fill in roles. You never know what the circumstances are during the season. You're going to need four or five receivers to be able to play at any time during the season who can play well for you. It's been good work and getting on the same page and seeing young guys understand that we need them to play well and they're going to have to play in the games and they're going to be the starters sometimes and they're doing a good job.

Q: At what point does it become critical that Cruz and Nicks are here to work with you?
A: It's a tough situation. You always want everybody there and you want them back here for practice as soon as possible. I'm not going to say this is not an important time because I think it is, but it's kind of a tough situation because what we're doing is important. The guys who are here are working and we're working hard and we're competing and we're trying to get better every day and that's going to help us down the road.

Q: Do you start to imagine what it would be like to play games without Cruz if his contract situation isn't resolved?
A: No. Right now my focus is on me getting better in my fundamentals and my decision making and all those things, throwing the ball accurately and working with the guys who are out there. If someone is doing something a little off, a little wrong, I'm going to try to correct them. I'm going to get in their ear and go tell them and talk to them about certain plays. If they're doing things really well, I'm going to do the same thing and talk to them and praise them. I'm competing and everyday I treat it like a game and just make our offense and everybody out there who's here working hard and get them where they're doing things correctly and making plays for us.

Q: Have you reached out to Hakeem?
A: I haven't talked to him in the last few days, so I don't know what the exact circumstances are.

Q: Can you tell that Louis Murphy can be a fit for you in this offense?
A: Yeah. He's come in and worked really hard. Back in early April, going over to Duke and working those days and learning the offense and asking questions and being here in the offseason, being there for routes and trying to pick up everything in this offense and so he's got talent. He can really run, he can stretch the field and he's got the desire and the commitment to be a good player and to bring another threat to this offense.

Q: Does it give you peace of mind that Nicks and Cruz were with you at Duke?
A: The thought of that was like a little pre-OTA practice. Just kind of work out some of the kinks and work on some fundamentals. Get used to catching the ball and throwing to each other in hopes of kind of having everybody there to give us a little jump start into our preparations of our offseason program. Hopefully, everybody will be back as soon as possible so we can continue to work and everybody can continue to make improvements.

Q: Did Hakeem say that he won't be at OTAs?
A: No. He was here for workouts before OTAs started and throwing and doing stuff. I don't know the exact circumstances of that.



Q: What have you learned from Eli out there?
A: I've learned a lot. I'm learning the offense and just learning what he likes, pretty much just learning the plays and getting out there and getting acclimated to the heat. The first day was really hot. Just learning a lot.

Q: You're getting more reps with Cruz and Nicks not here. How helpful is that?
A: It helps a lot with being able to get some reps out there. I wish those guys the best in their situation. I'm just going out working and trying to get better at my craft.

Q: What's Eli like to work with as a receiver?
A: He's great. He's coaching us up and telling me what he sees so we can be on the same page. Just working and trying to get better each and every day.

Q: What's it like to catch his deep ball?
A: It's awesome. He throws the ball great. On my end I've just got to go make the play.

Q: Early on with your time with Eli, do you think you can build a good connection with him?
A: Yeah. One play we ran, the DB was sitting inside and I couldn't really get inside so I came back towards him and he threw it and he was like, 'I read your body language. I saw what you were doing.' As long as I'm defining my movements, he can read off of it. So that's a plus being able to just be on the same page with him.

Q: Help us understand what it was like down at Duke when Hakeem, Victor and yourself were working with Eli.
A: It was awesome being down there with those guys. I was the new guy at the time, still kind of young and just learning those plays and they were helping me out. Victor was helping me out, Hakeem was helping me out and we were just going through the plays. We went through everything: seven on sevens, two minute, just going through the play calls and watching film. It was very helpful for me coming into OTAs. It was very helpful going down there and really learning the offense.



Q: What was it about the Giants that made you want to come here?
A: I was with Jacksonville for three years and I had a great time in the organization. It was a great city and then after that third year and I became a restricted free agent and then once March 12th came around, they decided to not tender me and I became a free agent and actually Philly and New York were the two teams that called right away asking if I'd be interested in leaving. Me and my agent have been well aware of the winning program here that they have at the Giants and just the whole situation with the 'backers and I know the system. So we knew it would be a good fit and as soon as I got the call for the workout, I knew all I had to do was show up and do some good things for their coaches to see and I'm assuming I ran a fast time in the 40 to get on the team. I don't know the time. I wish I did. I'm excited to be here and ready to get here to work.

Q: Is it easier because of your uncle's connection with pro football that it breaks the ice for you when you come into a new environment?
A: I think that would make it a little bit because then you don't really come under the radar. Him having his name along with mine and being in the blood, you obviously get that perception of he's going to come in and come in on a helicopter. I'm a little flamboyant, but on the field. Off the field, I'm very reserved.

Q: What do you think you have to offer this team?
A: I can definitely play all the positions. I just got here today. It was my first day of OTAs. I've still got to do a lot of learning in the playbook, but I'm able to fit in with the Will, Mike and Sam. I'm very versatile. I've played and started. I've been on every single special team, so basically wherever they need me, I'll be able to do it. Whatever they ask and I'll be ready to go.



Q: How are you feeling?
A: I feel pretty good. I just want to go out there and make plays and make an impression. Let the guys know that I'm ready to step up and make more plays this year.

Q: Coach Coughlin said that you would be the receiver that can make a big leap with Cruz and Nicks not here.
A: I understood that going in anyway. I think that's why they drafted me. They wanted me to come in and make an impact. I've just got to go out there and get my job done and do it to the best of my abilities.

Q: How important is it for you to take advantage of this opportunity?
A: I think it's a collective thing. We've just all got to band together and go out there and get the job done. I don't think it's really going to rely on one person. We've just got to band together, go out there and get the job done.

Q: Do you feel like you're a different player today compared to this time last year?
A: Most definitely. I'm a lot more confident in what I do going out there and making more plays and understanding the offense and on the same page with Eli and also getting more trust from the coaches and go out there and get more reps so I can show my ability more.

Q: Is this opportunity a blessing in disguise?
A: I guess you can say that. You've just got to go out there and do what you're supposed to do. It's not really a blessing or anything like that. It's just football. Two guys are gone, but the rest of us have got to step up and get the job done.

Q: What have you focused on this offseason?
A: Just be in better shape and an overall receiver. Understanding, just going over the plays in my head without trying to get away from the game at all. Getting better at running routes. Just being more explosive out of my breaks.

Q: Have you looked at what Mario Manningham has done in this offense?
A: I have not. I'm really more focused on my game and just getting better at understanding the offense and being a better overall player for myself.


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