There is nothing mundane about Eli Manning’s 15th training camp.
The 37-year-old will make his preseason debut at home against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night, and is excited to finally get some game action under his belt. As Manning put it Monday, he’s working with “a new offense and new players across the board at different spots.”
Manning is coming off a tumultuous 2017 season that saw him get benched, then reinstalled as the starter after coach Bob McAdoo was fired. Without several injured wide receivers and playing behind a porous offensive line, Manning finished with only 3,468 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
After witnessing a massive offseason overhaul, Manning admittedly doesn’t know what to expect when the Giants hit the field Thursday night. He has been working diligently with new head coach Pat Shurmur, coordinator Mike Shula and a bevy of new faces, from first-round pick Saquon Barkley at running back to an offensive line projected to have different starters at four spots.
“You just want to see how we’re going to work together and how guys are going to do in game situation,” Manning told reporters at camp Monday. “To see if their level of play stays the same, elevates, or goes down. You have to be able to do it in practice, but you have to be able to do it on game day, as well.”
Manning said he believes there is plenty of big-game potential among the offensive personnel, but he’s more interested in seeing a controlled approach that lends itself to consistency and helps the defense stay fresh as well.
How much playing time Manning sees during the preseason remains uncertain — he’ll leave those decisions to the coaching staff. For now, he’s enjoying a process at which many aging veterans cringe — and is excited about the prospect of another NFL season.
“I enjoy every camp, I get excited about coming through it every year,” he said. “I enjoy the work part of it, learning a new offense and going up against a new defense and seeing what they are doing. I enjoy the competition but also hanging out with the quarterbacks in the QB room or being in the locker room with the guys, all of it is a special time that I look forward to every year.”
One of those guys is Odell Beckham Jr. While the representatives for “OBJ” try to hammer out a long-term contract with the front office, the wide receiver can be seen working after practice, honing his routes and his communication with Manning.
“We missed a lot of time in the spring, just trying to get work on some routes where you might get to run it one time in routes versus air or run it one time during the course of practice,” Manning said. “We are imagining different coverages, different techniques, maybe I didn’t work it to him on that side because of the coverage and you say, ‘hey lets work now, I didn’t get to throw it to you.’ Just trying to get a few extra reps on things that we haven’t gotten the opportunity to throw those routes in the course of that practice.”
—Field Level Media