NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Eli Manning says he’s not panicking, so neither should anyone else.
To hear Manning tell it, there are worse things than allowing 77 points and throwing seven interceptions in two games. The Giants’ quarterback told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Monday that he’s really not that concerned with his team’s winless start.
Big Blue moved the ball consistently in the losses to Dallas and Denver, but has been doing almost all of it through the air. The Giants have just 73 yards rushing this season, including just 23 in Sunday’s 41-23 loss to the Broncos. Manning said it’s something that has to change immediately if the Giants are going to have balance on offense and avoid being predictable going forward.
“We gotta get that going,” Manning said of the running game. “First drive we ran the ball pretty well. We were moving, but then, for whatever reason, all of a sudden the next couple of series we try to run the ball on first down and were losing yards. We gotta run the ball. That’s when we are at out best. We have to establish some kind of running game.”
“I think the elements are there. We just have to find a way to be better. With David (Wilson) and Brandon (Jacobs) back there we should have a good mix. I think the offensive line is powerful enough,” he added.
Manning said film shows individual breakdowns, not a unit-wide epidemic.
“Guys are doing the right things. Guys are doing it extremely well. We are very close to everybody being on the same page and dominating that line of scrimmage,” Manning said.
Francesa pointed out that New York was 1-for-11 on third down against Denver. Manning said what made those downs even more difficult to convert was the fact that the Giants were very often in third-and-long situations.
“That’s tough to get 15-yard plays when they know you need 15. There were too many circumstances where we didn’t execute well enough,” Manning said.
Manning has completed 60 percent of his throws and has more than 800 yards in the first two games, but he’s been picked off seven times. He said the interceptions in both games were part bad execution on his part and part bad luck.
“No, I don’t think we have to make changes. We just have to get a little bit better. Pass protection has been good. We need to be better down in the red zone, score touchdowns, run the ball more effectively, not go backwards. We are close. I don’t think we’re way off. We’re close to playing extremely good. We need to keep being aggressive, eliminate the plays that are the differences between winning and losing,” Manning said.
Francesa pointed out that a lot of the current Giants were not around during the team’s recent championship runs. Manning was asked if he’s worried that the less experienced guys might panic or try too hard to turn things around.
“We got good leadership. Guys understand. They can watch film and know we have to get better. We need to keep practicing hard and making improvements every week. We need to play 60 minutes, put four quarters together and we get can get hot and be good pretty quick,” Manning said.
Next up for the Giants is a trip to Carolina this Sunday. The Panthers are coming off a last-second 24-23 loss in Buffalo, a week after holding NFC power Seattle in check in a 12-7 defeat. Manning said there are no gimmes in the NFL. He and his teammates will have to execute a lot better than they did over the first two weeks or they could easily come home 0-3.
“You’d like to get that first win of the season. It’s no fun working as hard as you do and putting in all the time and not getting the rewards for it,” Manning said.
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