From the first day of training camp to the final day of the season, Eli Manning almost never allows a glimpse into his innermost thoughts about what it is to be the Giants’ quarterback.
Oh, he’ll talk to you as long as you like, and he’s as polite and as conversational as you’d ever want while standing in front of his locker taking questions until the last reporter asks his or her final question. It’s just that he almost never offers any public thoughts to surface from beneath the veneer of his emotions.
And the one thing he’ll never-ever-ever-ever do is offer excuses for his poor play. Not about himself, or those around him. Where some players are quick to point blame elsewhere when things go wrong, Manning will never hang his teammates or coaches out to try.
But at least for a brief moment yesterday, Manning peeled back the layers and offered some intriguing perspective on his struggles this year. A day after completing a 10-6 season with a career-high 25 interceptions, Manning indeed shouldered the blame for that disturbing statistic. But he also pulled back the curtain for one of the only times in his career and explained the factors at play in a season that was at times brilliant, but at other times disastrous.
Maybe it was a birthday present to himself; yesterday, Manning turned 30. First things first, though. Manning put most of the blame on himself.
“I put a lot on my shoulders and I have to get better,” he said. “I’m not a 25-interception quarterback. I think obviously that’s got to be fixed. We have to fix that. That’s on me, the receivers, and everybody doing that, but most of it’s on me.”
But the bigger news was Manning actually detailing just what went wrong from an x's and o's standpoint. And that involved others, not just him. Here's my full column from today's paper for more.