It’s hard to picture Eli Manning getting upset. Like red-faced angry. There are times he flashes disappointment or even dismay on the field, but most of the time the Giants’ quarterback is stone-faced cool. An almost blank stare. Nothing, it would appear, really gets him agitated.
That, however, is not exactly the case.
“He’s someone that we all know is steady, very even-keeled. He doesn’t get rattled,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said of Manning. “But if you want to see the ‘aw, shucks’ go away faster than Odell Beckham on a slant inside to the end zone is, have someone bust a route or someone not do what they are supposed to do.”
Sullivan said in some circumstances, depending on the history he has with the receiver or the relationship they share, Manning might just give a nudge.
“Or,” Sullivan said, “it might be a little more of the personality of his older brother in terms of getting in a guy’s face.”
That’s a side of Manning few get to witness, but one that seems to be more prevalent in this training camp. Manning is not tolerating any slip-ups or slowdowns from his receivers this summer, as illustrated by Brandon Marshall this week. He told of Manning testing him on hand signals as the two emerged from the post-practice showers. He also spoke about Manning’s insistence that a certain route be run more precisely than Marshall was executing it.
“He’s probably the most detailed quarterback I’ve been around,” Marshall said of Manning. “He knows what he wants and how he wants it. It took me up until two weeks ago to get this one route down. He threw a ball into the ground and I was two steps off. Literally two steps off, and he pulled me to the side and just kept coaching me and walking me through it. Any other quarterback, it would have been perfect, right? But with this guy, no, it’s two steps. So, he’s special.”
With so much riding on this season for Manning and the Giants, and a slew of new targets for him to throw to, Manning clearly does not have time to wait for his teammates to slowly digest the playbook and their assignments.
“I’ve always thought that as a quarterback you have to be a great receivers coach,” Manning said. “That’s just part of the job. You have to be able to coach up receivers and talk to them about hitting sticks or getting their depth and you have to be able to tell them exactly how you want them to do it and be on the same page with them.”
“The feedback that he gives to the perimeter players,” Sullivan said, “the coaches can talk about why it’s important to take this angle or take these steps, but when you have the guy who has the ball who is coaching you up, and if you want the ball — and they all want the ball — they are going to do it the way he wants it.”
Manning will get his first chance to see just how all of it is coming together on Monday when he makes his preseason debut against the Browns. Ben McAdoo said he’d like to give Manning and the offensive starters “a good chunk of playing time into the second quarter” in that game.
It will be Manning’s first opportunity to throw passes to Marshall, rookie Even Engram, Rhett Ellison and others against live competition.
“I think you are always going to learn something from every practice, but especially from every game,” Manning said. “They’ll play different coverages than you expect, you’re going to get different looks, and you are going to have to adjust.
“Some of the new guys,” he said, “we’ll learn together.”