NEW YORK (WFAN) — Eli Manning insists there’s nothing wrong with him physically. He’s not hiding anything from the fans.
But coming up with an explanation for why he’s having arguably the worst season of his 10-year career and, as a result, the Giants are suffering through their most embarrassing season in some time is very difficult for the veteran quarterback.
Manning told WFAN’s Mike Francesa he’s not living in denial or anything like that. He said he’s healthy and mentally the same as always, but can understand why some question if at soon-to-be 33 his best years are behind him.
“It does bother me,” Manning said of the doubt and criticism that has been launched his way. “I don’t like hearing that. I guess it is a motivation. You want to prove them wrong and prove that I can still play at a high level and lead this team. I gotta get back to where I’m playing better and doing a better job of being a leader of this offense.”
The Giants are 5-9 and Manning has tied a career high with 25 interceptions, which also leads the NFL this season. He was picked off five times during New York’s 23-0 loss to Seattle on Sunday.
“I don’t think I forced any passes into double coverage or threw off my back foot or threw the ball because of pressure into bad situations,” Manning said. “Three of [the interceptions] were fade balls. One a guy got a hand on it and tipped it to the safety in the end zone, just bad luck on that one. I had Hakeem [Nicks] on a shallow route and that was the one really poor throw.”
Manning said he did the types of things he always does against better defenses — like move up in the pocket, check down, and not force balls do to pressure.
“They got to me before we could get guys open,” Manning said.
After being eliminated from playoff contention last week, the Giants vowed to play out the season hard. But for whatever reason — the most obvious being Seattle was a far superior football team — Big Blue seemed to play like it had nothing to play for. However, the Giants’ reaction after the game seemed to suggest something else. Head coach Tom Coughlin called the loss “pathetic,” safety Antrell Rolle interrupted Coughlin’s post-game speech to blast his teammates and tight end Brandon Myers took to Twitter with choice words for the team in general.
“I don’t think we have issues in our locker room. Offensively, I think anything said about us was probably deserved,” Manning said.
The Giants’ quarterback said team-wise, Sunday was a new low in a season of lows.
“It’s not fun. It makes it tough. I love playing football, I love the preparation, I love going to compete every Sunday and competing in practice, but yesterday it didn’t feel like we competed very well, felt like we didn’t give ourselves a chance to be successful or have anything, really, to be happy about,” Manning said.
It’s certain that there will be changes this offseason, but Manning said he’s like to see the Giants win out just so they have something to feel good about.
“I got two weeks to try to figure out this seasons and finish on a bright note, because today and last night were pretty awful feelings,” Manning said.
The Giants play at Detroit next Sunday and then finish the regular season at home against Washington on Dec. 29.
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