During the offseason the Giants coaching staff looked at what the New Orleans Saints were able to do on offense. It’s a copycat league, right, so who better to study than the Super Bowl champs? What they saw was a quarterback in Drew Brees who was fearless in finding windows to throw through and find his receivers. The Giants figure they have a pretty good quarterback of their own in Eli Manning and tried to get him to be more aggressive as well.
The result has been a very good statistical start to the season for Eli Manning, who has 1,302 passing yards, 8 touchdown passes and a 64.4 completion percentage. Oh, and there’s been one other result: Eight interceptions.
Unlike the first few picks Manning threw this season that were bouncing off receivers’ hands, the two he threw on Sunday against the Texans in the third quarter were his errors. “Bad decisions and bad throws mixed with it,” Manning said. “Usually a bad combination.”
The Giants have turned the ball over 15 times through both interceptions and fumbles. And it sounds like Tom Coughlin has had quite enough of that. Particularly the interceptions.
“It’s got to stop,” Coughlin said sternly. “You come out of a game, you feel good about it…we’ve had a couple of games that were plus zero and we’ve (forced) three and two turnovers. You expect to be the team that wins the turnover battle in that situation, especially when you’re ahead in the game. You’re just trying to figure out the circumstances and how to play and we’d like to put an end to this.”
They’ll try to do that against the Lions, but Detroit has forced 14 turnovers this year so they are ball-focused on defense. That means the two most turnover-prone players for the Giants – Manning and running back Ahmad Bradshaw – will be focusing on making good decisions and using good technique.
“They thrive off of turnovers,” Bradshaw said. “You just have to know to be careful with the ball offensively and defensively we have to be the ones to get the turnovers.”
Both Manning and Bradshaw have seen their turnovers go up as they take more chances and are more aggressive on the field. Whether it’s Manning trying to find that Drew Brees-like window or Bradshaw stretching for extra yardage, there is a gamble when taking chances.
“You have to be careful when you need that extra yard,” Bradshaw said. “It’s got to be at the right time. Defenses now are taught to strip the ball. It’s like a natural thing, You just have to be more careful.”
“You always have to make smart decisions,” Manning said. “With those third-and-long situations, I have to take my completion or throw it away and just be smart. I have to understand the circumstance of the game and don’t need to force things at that point.”