Eli Manning agreed that he never had been surrounded by as much offensive talent at the start of a Giants training camp as he is this summer. From a stockpile of receivers to a variety of running backs to a developing tight end, he's like the quarterback of a fantasy football team that is playing with him in real life.
But he also knows that fantasy can turn to despair with the turn of an ankle or the buckle of a knee.
"I think there are a lot of weapons," he said before Friday's opening practice of camp. "We just need everybody to play up to their ability. I have to do a good job. We have to put it on the field and make it work."
If they can, Manning seems confident that he and the Giants will be able to put up never-before-seen offensive numbers. How high?
"Our goal is to try to get 27 to 30 points per game," he said. "That's not based on a particular defense, that's just what we expect of ourselves. We have a talented group."
To put that 27 to 30 in perspective, the Giants have averaged at least 25 points per season under Manning only four times. Their most productive year was 2012, when they averaged 26.8 points. Last year the Giants averaged 23.8 points per game; the league leader was Green Bay at 30.4.
"Having Victor [Cruz] and Odell [Beckham Jr.] and Rueben [Randle] and Larry [Donnell] and Shane [Vereen] and Rashad [Jennings], it's about having all of them and all of them playing at a high level," Manning said, nearly running out of breath naming as many teammates as he could. "[It's about] seeing what the defense will do, their adjustments and how they'll try to guard them all. It's great to have weapons, it's great to have talent. Now hopefully we can keep them all out there, keep them healthy and get the best from them."
It seems almost impossible to imagine a defense being able to shut down all of those options.
"They'll figure out a way," Manning said with a smirk. "There is always a system . . . There's a lot involved in it, but I'm just excited to get there on the field with all of them and get to work."
Manning has other goals. He said he'd like to complete 70 percent of his passes (although the actual written-down goal of the offense is 67 percent). Last year he had a career-high 63.1 completion percentage. And that was without fully grasping the schemes and philosophies of a new offensive coordinator early in the season.
"Last year I didn't know much about the offense," he said of Ben McAdoo's new system. "You hear 'West Coast' and I had never been in a West Coast offense, I didn't know exactly what that meant. But I've enjoyed it. I've enjoyed this past year learning this offense, each and every day trying to get more advanced with it. Pushing the guys, pushing myself to learn it and get more familiar with it. Get perfect with it. That's the goal.
"I like it," he added. "I like where we're going. I like the way the offense works and how it hits my head on how I see things and my feet and it all makes sense to me. I feel we can be good in it."
Good enough to score 27 to 30 per game? To reverse a losing trend during the last two years?
"That's the goal," he said. "We want to get back to winning games and making playoffs and getting ourselves opportunities to win championships. And doing that this year."
Making a point
Eli Manning thinks the Giants can score between 27 and 30 points per game in 2015. A look at the most- and least-productive point-scoring seasons since Manning joined the Giants in 2004:
26.8 in 2012
26.7 in 2008
26.4 in 2005
18.4 in 2013
18.9 in 2004
22.2 in 2006