Mike Sullivan saw Eli Manning win two Super Bowls. But he has never seen him like this. "I think his arm is very live," the Giants quarterbacks coach said on Wednesday. "I don't think it has ever been stronger."
Sullivan was Manning's position coach in 2010 and 2011 and a member of the offensive staff that came to the Giants in 2004 with Manning and Tom Coughlin. Sullivan returned this season to find the 34-year-old at the top of his game, at least physically.
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Manning said in the spring he worked with baseball coaches to develop that improvement.
"He looks like he's got a lot of zip on the football," Sullivan said. "He's worked hard to take care of his body, to work on some of his fundamentals and techniques and try to make sure he's able to do all the things necessary to get everything into his throws."
The Giants were without three starters and a key backup for most of practice, their first in full pads.
Rookie LT Ereck Flowers (hip flexor) and C Weston Richburg (knee) did not participate at all while CB Prince Amukamara (groin) and LB Jameel McClain (neck) left early in the workout. The Giants were also without S Nat Berhe (calf).
Coughlin did say Flowers, who has missed two practices and is considered day-to-day, is "much improved."
The first-round draft pick said he expects to be back soon and play in the preseason opener in Cincinnati next Friday.
Coughlin ended practice with another competition, this time having defensive backs and wide receivers attempt to throw a football and hit the crossbar. They were so ineffective, though, that Coughlin made the entire team do the pushups that are normally reserved for the losing side. "It wasn't pretty," Coughlin said. "It was an eye-opener, let's put it that way." Only WR James Jones and S Josh Gordy managed to hit their target, mercifully ending the ordeal . . . Coughlin said the team will have one workout in full pads and one in just shoulder pads when they visit Cincinnati for joint practices next week.NFL Network analyst and former Giants nemesis Michael Irvin was at practice to interview Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz. Irvin even wore a Giants helmet -- with his old Cowboys number 88 on the brow -- while working on a field with the two.