The heck with Rex Ryan’s blitzes, even if it is preseason and even if Colts owner Jim Irsay strongly hinted last week that Andrew Luck took a seat because the team didn’t want him subjected to Ryan’s pass rush.
Eli Manning wants the Bills’ coach to give him everything he’s got when the Giants play the Bills on Saturday afternoon at newly named New Era Field outside Buffalo.
“For me, I haven’t taken a hit or had live action in a long time, so I look forward to getting out on the field, see what we can do with this offense getting some live work,” Manning said after Thursday’s practice. “Going against a good defense, very multiple schemes, so it’s going to be a good test for us and our communication on the road.”
After standing on the sideline in a preseason opener for the first time in the Giants’ game against the Dolphins last Friday, Manning is itching to see live game action, even if it means risking some heavy hits against Ryan’s blitz-happy scheme.
Ryan told Newsday on Monday that he actually did game-plan more aggressively against Manning’s Giants in their annual preseason matchups when Ryan coached the Jets from 2009-14.
“There might have been a little extra there, no question about that,” Ryan said. “But it was a fun competition. You never want to hurt somebody, but there was a little special thing there.”
Manning suffered a gash on his forehead when he was whacked in the back of the helmet by linebacker Calvin Pace during the 2010 Jets-Giants preseason game. Manning’s helmet flew off, and several stitches were required to close the wound.
But Manning doesn’t hold that one against Ryan. Manning failed to properly execute a handoff to Brandon Jacobs and the ball flipped into the air. Manning then was hit from behind by Pace, who came in unblocked.
“That’s not [Ryan’s] fault. He didn’t do anything wrong,” Manning said. “That was on me. That was a good lesson that I learned. It wasn’t because he came with some outrageous blitz or did anything wrong.”
And if Ryan does decide to bring the house with some of his exotic pressures?
“It’s part of football,” Manning said. “It’s part of what they do. It will give us great work to handle it.”
Now that’s how a quarterback is supposed to feel about the prospect of facing an aggressive defense. Manning has been hit plenty since he took over from Kurt Warner midway through the 2004 season, and he never has missed a game. No reason to change that “fear no defense” mentality now.
Besides, Manning genuinely seems to enjoy being around Ryan, whether it’s on the field or at an offseason function.
“I find Rex funny,” Manning said. “I think he’s a good coach, and I think he has a good scheme. He’s very entertaining. Every [interaction] I’ve had with him, he’s been very nice and always had something creative to say.”
Manning can’t wait to get back on the field, especially after first-year coach Ben McAdoo kept him on the sideline in the opener. The bubble wrap is off the Giants’ franchise quarterback for this one.
“It’s not something I really like,” Manning said of not playing. “It’s definitely a different feeling when you know you’re not going to get on the field.”
Manning thought he’d be in street clothes on the sideline last Friday, and he got in a good workout several hours before the Giants played the Dolphins. But when he got to the locker room, he was told that only injured players don’t suit up, so he put on his uniform and warmed up before the game.
“It changed my plan a little bit,” he said.
The plan now is to play. Which is just how Manning likes it.
Manning’s message is clear: Whatever you’ve got, Rex, bring it!