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On 2nd thought, Eli may start

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  • On 2nd thought, Eli may start

    On 2nd thought, Eli may start

    Tom Coughlin got his first chance to see quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Eli Manning in game conditions when the Giants played the Kansas City Chiefs in the teams' preseason opener on Friday night. Then early yesterday morning, Coughlin got a second look - on tape - and it's clear he likes what he sees from the rookie.

    A few days after declaring the race for the starting job dead even, Coughlin still maintains that neither quarterback has taken the inside track at this point. But this much seems clear: Manning has a legitimate chance to start the season as the No.1 quarterback.

    "There is a ways to go in this thing," Coughlin said in a conference call with reporters yesterday.

    In the Giants' 34-24 win against the Chiefs, Warner played with the first-team offense and completed three of his seven passes for 49 yards. Manning entered to a standing ovation midway through the second quarter and completed seven of 13 attempts for 91 yards.

    Neither quarterback threw a touchdown pass or an interception.

    Though Coughlin seemed annoyed when a reporter asked him during a postgame press conference whether he would start Manning in Thursday's game at Carolina - the coach snapped: "I'll make that decision later in the week, thank you very much" - he appears to be considering flip-flopping the quarterbacks' roles this week.

    Coughlin said he will review the game tape again before making a decision, but he added that he was pleased with the way Manning moved the team, particularly in a two-minute drill at the end of the first half that culminated in Bill Gramatica's 42-yard field goal at the gun.

    What stood out most about Manning's performance was how composed he remained during the drill, Coughlin said. Not that he was surprised by that.

    "He's done that throughout training camp," the coach said.

    Coughlin also said he would like to see Warner get rid of the ball a little sooner.

    "I think Kurt, sometimes to a fault, will want to take advantage of every opportunity he has to allow the receiver to break free," Coughlin said.

Related Topics


  • Nick
    NickSeiler wows ClanRam by posting another Warner-related thread!
    by Nick
    Warner, Not Manning, to Make the First Start
    Published: August 12, 2004

    LBANY, Aug. 11 - When Kurt Warner signed with the Giants in June, it was expected that he would lead the way, at least temporarily, for Eli Manning, the top pick in the draft. On Wednesday, Coach Tom Coughlin confirmed that there is a pecking order at quarterback and it begins with Warner. Manning will follow.

    Warner will start the Giants' opening preseason game Friday night at Giants Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs, the first official acknowledgement that it may be Warner's job to lose.

    But Warner is on a short leash. Coughlin would not so much as discuss whether Warner or Manning would start the second preseason game on Aug. 19. And Coughlin conceded that the competition between Warner and Manning was still more or less even.

    Both quarterbacks will play extensively Friday, with Warner beginning the game with the first offensive unit and playing into the second quarter. Manning will replace him, playing briefly with some of the starters and continuing with the reserves well into the third quarter.

    Coughlin, ever cautious with his answers to reporters' questions, explained his decision by saying: "It's just the way we wanted to go. It's the way we should go with this game."

    As for the next game, he said: "I'm not talking about the second preseason game. We'll look at one game and then we'll see where we are."

    Coughlin's choice was no doubt made easier when he considered the impact that starting the first preseason game at Giants Stadium would have on Warner compared with that impact on Manning. Warner is playing his seventh season in the N.F.L. and has played in two Super Bowls. Manning carries with him the burden of being savior to the franchise, and he has been a professional for only a few months.

    It is quite likely that Coughlin did not want to expose Manning, who will be making his first Giants Stadium appearance, to the added pressure of starting the game. There is also the pressure of playing behind a revamped offensive line that has performed erratically in practice. The Giants want to protect Manning, in whom they have invested $45 million and a host of draft picks.

    Warner, 33, who could be with the Giants no more than one season, is certainly more accustomed to the conditions of a deteriorating pass pocket.

    Warner and Manning seemed at ease with Coughlin's decision. Warner said it was what he expected.

    "It looked like it was leaning that way, at least for the first game," he said.

    Manning almost seemed relieved.

    "I've been a backup before," he said. "I'm here for a learning experience. It's my job to watch and learn from Kurt, who has played in a lot of games. I'm excited I'm going to get to...
    -08-12-2004, 11:26 AM
  • RamWraith
    Manning looked better than Warner
    by RamWraith
    Eli to max at 2nd mini
    Tuesday, June 8th, 2004

    To no one's surprise, Kurt Warner's passes looked sharp, crisp and mostly on target during the first day of his first minicamp as the quarterback of the Giants.
    The surprise was that Eli Manning's passes looked even better.

    The rookie who struggled during his first minicamp in early May put all that behind him yesterday at Giants Stadium with a much-improved performance that caught the eyes of his coaches and teammates. His command in the huddle was better and he had a much greater knowledge of the offense. And as a result, he was able to show off the right arm that the Giants worked so hard to acquire in their blockbuster draft-day trade.

    "Practice will do that," coach Tom Coughlin said. "(He now has) a little bit of understanding about what we're trying to get done. It is a foreign language when a young player or any player comes to a new program. So you have to understand all of the things that he went through. The first time you saw him he had had one hour of meeting time."

    "Every day he's gotten better," added running back Tiki Barber. "The first day he looked like he couldn't play in high school. The second day he started to figure it out and he was more comfortable calling the plays. And as the weeks have gone on we can see he's confident. And when he is confident he throws a great ball, he knows exactly what he's doing."

    Manning took some snaps with the first team yesterday, though most of those went to incumbent starter Jesse Palmer. Warner, who said "I'm getting a little more comfortable day by day," played mostly with the third string.

    Most of Manning's passes seemed to be on the mark, and he even showed some arm strength with a couple of deep throws. It was a stark contrast to his first minicamp, when his passes fluttered out of his hand and he was often intercepted.

    "I feel more comfortable just calling the plays and visualizing everything and knowing what everybody's doing," Manning said. "Your mind isn't thinking about everything. Your feet and your mechanics are better. Now I know what to expect."

    Coughlin declined to say whether he had any problem with Michael Strahan's participation in the offseason workout program, which became an issue at the last minicamp when the defensive end admitted his attendance was less than perfect.

    "It's a voluntary program that I would hope would be attended 100%," Coughlin said. "That's what I said before and I'll stick to it."

    As for Strahan's declaration that he plays by "my own set" of rules during the offseason, Coughlin had no comment. Strahan declined requests for an interview.
    -06-08-2004, 06:10 AM
  • Nick
    Coughlin Sticking with Manning As Starter
    by Nick
    Coughlin Sticking with Manning As Starter

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Despite horrific struggles in recent weeks, Tom Coughlin still believes that Eli Manning is going to be an outstanding quarterback for the reeling New York Giants.

    Coughlin reiterated Monday that the No. 1 pick in the draft will start against the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-1), adding that giving Manning a week off to clear his head wasn't an option.

    "The rookie player that has this type of opportunity, and this type of experience, it is a priceless experience that does not come without pain," Coughlin said in a conference call as he reviewed a 37-14 loss to Baltimore.

    Not only is Manning winless in four starts since taking over from Kurt Warner, his statistics are dreadful. He has completed 42-of-110 passes for 516 yards, one touchdown and six interceptions. His quarterback rating is a 33.8 percent -- the lowest in the NFL for anyone with 100 pass attempts.

    And the Giants have lost their last three games by at least 21 points, the first time that has happened since 1980.

    Manning has had two good halves, one against Atlanta and another versus Philadelphia. His last two games have been horrible.

    Against the Ravens on Sunday, Manning was 4-for-18 for 27 yards, two interceptions, a lost fumble and a zero rating.

    The Giants, who have lost six in a row, didn't do anything on offense until Warner took over in the fourth quarter and led a touchdown drive. The other TD was provided by the New York defense.

    "Yesterday was a setback," Coughlin said of Manning. "I thought the second half Atlanta and the first half Philadelphia were outstanding, and in the right direction. The last two weeks have not been as such, but I am not changing my opinion one iota. I think you have to play through these things."

    There are valid excuses for Manning's woes.

    The offensive line has struggled since Game 6. Center Shaun O'Hara has missed three games and rookie guard Chris Snee has missed the last two with a baffling glandular infection.

    In the last three games, Manning has faced three of the NFL's top defenses -- Philadelphia, Washington and Baltimore. All three have put in wrinkles that confused the young quarterback.

    The Steelers fit in the same category, which doesn't bode well for this weekend at Giants Stadium.

    "It is causing him to pause at the line of scrimmage, which is really affecting the offense," Coughlin said. "We seem to be over the ball too long. We have to make a determination and go."

    The Giants' receivers haven't helped much.

    Amani Toomer has been battling a hamstring injury. Ike Hilliard has had a sub-par year and tight end Jeremy Shockey, who might be the most potent weapon, has not been used well by the coaching...
    -12-13-2004, 10:37 PM
  • RamWraith
    Manning startng
    by RamWraith news services

    Rookie quarterback Eli Manning will make his first professional start when the Giants play the defending NFC champion Panthers in a preseason game Thursday.

    Giants coach Tom Coughlin made the announcement Tuesday.

    Manning is competing with veteran Kurt Warner for the starting job. Warner started last week's 34-24 victory over Kansas City.

    "It's Eli's turn. Eli will go. He will start," Coughlin said. "The decision coming in is that they will compete for the job, and so therefore we're going to give them the opportunity for both of them to have a start. And this is Eli's opportunity.
    -08-17-2004, 11:08 AM
  • Nick
    SI: Coughlin picked the wrong time to replace Warner with Manning at QB
    by Nick
    Coughlin picked the wrong time to replace Warner with Manning at QB
    Posted: Tuesday November 16, 2004 11:17AM;
    Updated: Tuesday November 16, 2004 1:29PM

    New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin announced the news in his typically stern manner. Eli Manning is the future of his team, Coughlin said during his Monday afternoon press conference, and the future is starting now. He talked about Manning's preparation and attitude and made it seem as if the rookie quarterback was ready to lead a team that is in a mind-boggling free-fall. But Coughlin didn't sound confident. He sounded desperate. And if he thinks Eli Manning is going to change the Giants' fortunes, he's about to be seriously disappointed.

    It's one thing for the New York media to clamor for Manning to replace struggling starter Kurt Warner. But for Coughlin to move to Manning now -- with the Giants sitting at 5-4 in a conference in which nine victories might secure a playoff spot -- smacks of sheer lunacy.

    What exactly does Manning bring to the Giants offense that Warner didn't? He's just as immobile as Warner, which means he'll be sitting in the pocket and probably taking as many sacks as Warner did over the last four weeks. That's the reality of playing behind an offensive line that has started to perform as poorly as many people expected it would when the season began. Manning certainly won't take better care of the football than Warner did last Sunday, when he didn't not give the ball away in a 17-14 loss to Arizona. Warner atoned for a four-turnover performance a week earlier by not giving the ball away once in a loss to Arizona. And the last time I checked, Manning wasn't playing both ways, so he couldn't help a defense that has blown double-digit leads against offensively challenged teams in consecutive weeks.

    There are countless issues for the Giants to address but apparently Manning is the man who will have to overcome them. It's a difficult position to place him in. He's only played in two games, both when the outcomes were clearly decided, so he'll have little feel for the action. He also didn't look so hot in his season-opening debut in relief of Warner, when Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Jerome McDougle hit him so hard that Manning briefly resembled a life-sized Bobblehead doll. Coughlin wisely stuck with Warner as his starter after that game, if for no other reason than that it made more sense for a 33-year-old quarterback to take that kind of abuse than the first pick in the draft. Now Manning is surely going to face worse treatment.

    His first opponent up will be Atlanta, a team that had seven sacks in a win over Tampa Bay last Sunday. He then gets an Eagles defense that will be blitzing him all afternoon. Then comes Washington, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, three teams that all rank among the NFL's top five defensive units. If people thought Warner was having problems moving the offense,...
    -11-16-2004, 01:31 PM