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Unlike Jets QB situation, Eli Manning has given Giants stability for over a decade

The Jets' Geno Smith and the Giants' Eli

The Jets' Geno Smith and the Giants' Eli Manning are seen in this composite image. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Eli Manning was at his locker for his midweek session with reporters Wednesday, present and accounted for, as always, and largely unenlightening, as always, in a ritual that dates to when Geno Smith was at Miami's Norland Middle School.

Not that he or anyone else at the Giants' practice facility was complaining. Thanks to a three-game winning streak, there was even less for the quarterback to discuss than usual, which is the way he likes it.

The new-look offense no longer is in disarray, so the conversation centered around the Eagles and Sunday's big game at the Linc, as well as on Manning's blossoming supporting cast.

When someone asked about Peyton, the subject was Hillis, not the Broncos' quarterback.

When someone asked whether Manning felt personal satisfaction in proving the offense's doubters wrong, he said, "No," then laughed. "The only satisfaction it gives us is, hey, going out there and playing well and winning."

When someone attempted an insightful probe into whether Eli had learned something about himself in adapting to a new system after all these years, he smiled and said, "Nothing I can think of, sorry."

In other words: Nice try.

Not that there's anything wrong with all of the above. Manning's job is to win, not talk. But it is times such as these when it is impossible not to contrast the Giants' situation with that of their New Jersey counterparts.

Now that Manning has blunted concerns he might be finished at age 33, Giants fans should look around and again give thanks for the decade-plus of personal and professional stability under their roof, a rare luxury in the NFL.

As opposed to . . . well, you know.

Eli still is not Peyton -- Manning, that is, not Hillis -- but through it all he has managed to recover from every career wobble and return to Eli equilibrium.

How much of a given is this guy?

The words "Eli'' and "Manning" never were uttered in a question or answer during coach Tom Coughlin's news conference to kick off the week, much as the subject was nonexistent during a week of Jets bashing on talk radio.

Really, what was there to ask?

Manning's 30-7 record in October -- an .811 winning percentage -- only is the best in NFL history.

He has eight touchdown passes and one interception during the win streak and has inched his way to 12th in NFL passer rating at 95.6, ahead of Jay Cutler, Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Colin Kaepernick, Matthew Stafford, Joe Flacco, Tom Brady and the Eagles' Nick Foles.

He is completing two-thirds of his passes, which would be a career high for a full season.

What has turned things around?

"Just playing better football," he said. "I think we've come in, we've shaken some things up. I think our guys are playing well, offensive line's playing well, receivers are getting open, defense is doing a good job getting us turnovers and staying in games and not falling behind and having to change the offense to get back into it."

Manning emphasized the need not to become complacent, saying, "We can't be satisfied. We're still in third place in the NFC East. So that's the mindset. We have a chance to play a team that's in first place, so it's a big game."

Did he ever wonder whether first-year coordinator Ben McAdoo's system would work this soon?

"I knew it wouldn't just come right away," he said. "It's got to take time. You have to get a feel for everything, but I knew I'd work my tail off to get there and have an understanding.

"But it's also the coaches kind of figuring out what plays you like, what fits my style of playing and our offense's style of playing, and they've done a good job doing that."

Hearing no further questions, including ones about cursing at fans or ill-timed movie outings or a 1-4 record or a coach on the hot seat or the specter of a veteran backup, there was nothing left to ask, so Manning carried on with another day at the office.


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