Brad Wing was feeling pretty low in the Giants’ postgame locker room in Philadelphia, telling reporters he felt as though he had cost the team a win in each of the past two games.
There was a punt that was returned for a touchdown against the Lions in Week 2 and then the poor punt out of bounds that put the Eagles in position to win the game as time expired in Week 3.
“I feel like we’re a pretty good football team if I get my [stuff] together,” he said after that last performance. “I look forward to the challenge ahead. I think we’ll be a great team if I start to play like I know I can and like these guys know I can.”
By Wednesday, though, he was feeling much better.
Thanks, he said, to Eli Manning.
“I’m lucky enough to be in a locker room that has guys who have been through some tough times themselves,” Wing said on Wednesday. “I try to lean on those guys. I’m very lucky to have that at my disposal. It’s been great to have the support of all the veteran players in here and pick their brains on how they approach a new week after a week in which you didn’t perform the way you wanted to.”
Manning, he said, made the most impact. The quarterback saw Wing on Monday and, recognizing he was feeling down, gave him a pep talk that included some of his own miserable games.
“He’s been through the toughest at that position,” Wing said. “He’s obviously been through some tough games. He told me he’s had games where it was the game-winning drive and he throws an interception or doesn’t complete a pass. . . . I think if I’m feeling this I can’t imagine what he’s felt after games like that. But to see him be able to bounce back and carry himself the way he has -- he’s a Super Bowl champion, he’s been the MVP -- so to have someone like that to know that he’s been through some crap and see how they can turn it around is pretty comforting.”
Now, Wing just has to play better. He said he takes responsibility for the punt return by the Lions even though that was a very strong kick. “I’m the punter, it’s the punt team, and I don’t ever want that to happen,” he said. Sunday’s shank was more directly his fault.
“It was 1,000 percent on me,” he said. “Great snap, protection was great, it was just about me.”
Breaking it down, Wing said he knew what happened right away.
“I got a little long in my stride and it caused my drop to be a little on the outside,” he said. “So when I swung up I had a bit of a cross swing and the ball shot off to the left.”
He said he’ll try not to dwell on it. Even though it was a costly mistake, it was still just one bad punt.
“That was the underlying theme from the vets is that one play doesn’t determine who you are as a player,” Wing said. “That’s kind of the mentality you have to take.”
It’s the mentality Manning shared with him.
“[It’s great] to have a guy like Eli Manning, as good a resume as there is, to give you that guidance and show that he has that confidence in you as well,” Wing said. “He didn’t have to do that. I’m very lucky to have a teammate like him.”