Eli Manning’s teammates have his back during struggles

Eli Manning
Quarterback Eli Manning set a career franchise record for interceptions after adding five more Sunday.
Credit: Getty Images

The Giants have a host of problems, and after being shutout by Seattle on Sunday, it’s evident there’s a lack of talent on the offensive line, no help from the running game and an underachieving wideout corps. But arguably the biggest problem to date is the point man who is running the lame offense, quarterback Eli Manning.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP, who has tossed a league-high 25 interceptions, admitted he’s frustrated with the lack of execution from himself and the team.

“There hasn’t been anything said that’s not undeserved. It’s all pretty accurate,” said Manning, adding each interception has its own story to tell. “Sometimes it’s a bad decision or a bad throw. Or sometimes it’s like what happened yesterday when their guys made more plays. We knew we’d get a lot of one-on-one matchups and were looking forward to trying to take advantage of those matchups. But when you throw a couple of those one-on-ones down the field and they get intercepted, it’s not what you’re looking forward to, and so right away it kind of takes us out of what we’re planning to do. … It definitely wasn’t fun watching that film.”

Thanks to his five-interception afternoon against the Seahawks, Manning is now in sole possession of the franchise’s career interception mark with 169 — and counting, considering there’s still two games remaining in the season.

Still the unquestioned franchise leader, Manning began this season with a bad omen, as he started the season with an interception on the first play of the opener in Dallas, just seven seconds into the season. That snowballed into a spell that featured 15 interceptions during a 0-6 start, which was a combination of inaccurate throws, receivers not fighting for the ball, poor pass blocking and just bad decisions by the signal caller.

Poor decisions and turnovers are the bane of head coach Tom Coughlin’s coaching existence, so when asked about his quarterback and the criticism that is starting to stick, the coach noted that everyone needs to continue to rally around one another.

“Our strength is as a team,” Coughlin said. “Our strength is in our unselfish commitment to each other.”

Defensive end and co-captain Justin Tuck said he’ll always stand by his quarterback.

“I have the utmost confidence he’s going to come back and be the elite quarterback he’s always been. I don’t believe you’re gonna see [Number] 10 play like this too much longer [because] everyone knows the type of quarterback he is. We go as he goes,” said Tuck. “He’s had a down year this year, but he’ll bounce back. … He’s the first guy in here and probably going to be the last guy to leave. He puts in tremendous effort to go over everything with every offensive player — the O-line, the wideouts [and] the running backs. It’s constantly. And I just feel like when you put that much effort into something, given the talent that he is, it’s going to flip a switch. You can’t keep a good guy down that long.”

As long as Manning is under center for Big Blue, Tuck has faith in the Giants regaining their prominence.

“I truly believe he’ll bounce back sooner rather than later. He’s unflappable [and] has one of those memories where he doesn’t remember the last interception and I think that’s a great thing,” said Tuck. “He’s not going to allow what people are saying about him to dictate what he needs to do. He’s going to go out there and do what he needs to do, continue to fight and try to improve. … We need ‘E’ and I think we all take a lead from him.”

Big Blue notes …

» Coughlin had no updates on the statuses of wideout Victor Cruz (concussion/knee) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder).

» Only two quarterbacks have thrown more than 25 interceptions in a season since 2000: Brett Favre (29 in 2005) and Jay Cutler (26 in 2009).

» Manning should take solace in knowing that his season isn’t as bad as George Blanda’s 1962 campaign when he threw 42 interceptions – a record that still stands today.

» Manning insisted his arm — or lack thereof —isn’t the problem.

“I don’t feel any differently on my throws, so I don’t think that’s a reason for some of the interceptions,” Manning said.

» Coughlin made it very clear that he still has faith in offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, his system and his play-calling: “Yes, Oh yeah.”

The coach added he’s “not surprised” frustrations bubbled over immediately after yesterday’s loss, but claimed that “today is a day of healing.”

» Defensive lineman Mathias Kiwanuka said this may be his worst experience as an NFL player.

“This is as frustrating as I’ve been as a football player,” Kiwanuka said. “We haven’t been in this situation, [and] I haven’t been in this situation personally.”

» Regarding the alleged dissention, Coughlin said he talked to the players about “things that should not have been said” immediately after the game, adding there are times when they should “bite their tongue.”

» Tuck said he doesn’t think there’s any in-fighting going on, as he acknowledged many times in the past when the defense couldn’t get out of its own way, while the offense excelled.

“I don’t think there was any finger pointing. There’s been many times when the offense bailed us out when we played like crap,” Tuck said. “Sure, everyone knows our offense is struggling, but this team wins and loses as a team and there will never be any division in this locker room. We have no shot if that takes place. And I don’t think yesterday was any signs of that. I just think it was a sign of trying to challenge guys to go out there and play better. For me, that’s one of the hardest things to do as a leader. I don’t think at any point yesterday with anything said it was any finger-pointing. It was guys trying to get guys riled up to play better.”

» Safety Antrel Rolle didn’t back off his comments on Sunday that some guys “had no pulse” or “heart” and quit.

“Hey, they have to look at themselves in the mirror,” Rolle said. “I know I’m going to give everything I’ve got, as long as I play this game, so I can only take care of me. If I take care of me, I’m helping the team out. That’s all I can do. You can’t make another player have passion about this game. You can’t make another player have heart about this game. And like I said, each individual has to go look himself in the mirror tonight. If they’re satisfied, they are. If they’re not, then we have more work to do, collectively. … We win as a team, we lose as a team. It’s not about pointing fingers. But like I said, there’s no room for that [quitting] in this game, especially with what has taken place throughout the course of the year. We need to get better. We need to find some pride about ourselves. We need to find some passion about this game. And we definitely need to find some heart about this game. All those things should be automatic.”

Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.


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