Eli Manning doesn’t have a flashy nickname. Some think of him as Peyton’s little brother, but most call him, simply Eli.
But if we have to give him a nickname, then maybe we should just call him “Every Down Eli”, since he doesn’t miss any games. His consecutive game streak of 183 is third in NFL history behind Brett Favre and his brother Peyton.
So basically, he makes the backup quarterback’s job very easy.
However, last week, something happened to “Every Down Eli,” because he was not activated for the game by new coach Ben McAdoo. Nothing was wrong with Manning. It was just a coach’s decision.
Now understand, this didn’t matter to the two-time Super Bowl MVP, since it was preseason and the game didn’t count. It did, though, give him a very different game-day.
“I have had games where I have been on the sidelines,” said Manning, who was Kurt Warner’s backup the first eight games of his rookie season. “Not the first one, but you have to listen to the coach’s orders. It is not something that I ideally like, just knowing that in the week getting kind of prepared for the game and knowing I am not going to play in it, but still try to watch film and kind of do some things, know the game plan like I was preparing, but the day of, there is a different feel when you know you aren’t going to get out there on the field.”
So the vacation is over and Manning is ready to get to work this weekend against the Bills in Buffalo. A lot of work needs to get done for the 35 year-old since the Giants are bringing in new receivers.
And Manning needs reps with his guys and this is a good opportunity. “The preseason games are very helpful,” Manning said.” You get certain concepts and certain routes, but going against different technique, different looks, different forms of defense, you are going to get a different reaction, so I think every live rep counts a little bit extra when you get in the game, in the preseason game.”
Now to get this done, he will have to take on the Bills, coached by former Jets honcho, Rex Ryan. Although Manning finds Ryan very funny, the way he plays his defense in the preseason could be a concern. Last week, Jim Irsay made comments that he didn’t want to Andrew Luck to play Ryan’s Bills in the preseason.
But Manning thinks it’s no problem and said, “I have been going against a Rex Ryan defense a bunch, regular season, preseason when he was with the Jets, so you have to understand that they are multiple, they like to bring some pressures and some blitzes and it is our job to get the ball out on time and be prepared for everything.”
More importantly, Manning knows what it means to get ready for the season and be on top of his games on the road, so this presents the Giants an opportunity.
“I am looking forward to getting out on the field, seeing what we can do with this offense, getting some live work with the receivers and running backs and offensive line,” he said. So we are going up against a good defense, multiple schemes, so it is going to be a good test for us and our communication on the road, using all of your — things you have to do when you play on the road, so our communication and execution has to be good.”
And that’s what the preseason is all about. His one-game sabbatical is over. Time to get to work.