Eli Manning hasn't been intercepted yet in training camp
Eli Manning has yet to throw an interception as he headed into Thursday's practice. And while he is usually loath to admit that he notices anything about his own statistical performances, this one -- or the absence of one -- has caught his eye.
"Yeah," he said when asked if he keeps track of his picks. "You remember those in practice. They're never fun to watch on film. I had one [Wednesday] that was close, a bad decision, so I put that in the same category. It was tipped up near the red zone."
Manning's strong play early on has not gone unnoticed and has the Giants projecting big things from him.
"He's going to end up playing his best football here from this point forward, there's no doubt in my mind," Tom Coughlin said on SiriusXM NFL Radio Thursday morning. "To have him and to have him start camp like he is and all the players around him realize they have to play a little bit higher level, that's a good thing."
Manning saw a dramatic dip in interceptions in 2014. After a career-high 27 of them in 2013, he was down to just 14 last year. He said in the spring he'd like to have a season in which he is in the single digits for interceptions. His career low for a full season is 10, which was in 2008.
Last year at this time Manning was throwing a lot of training camp picks as he tried to get a grasp on the new offense. That's the biggest difference, he said, leading to this summer's interception drought.
"Having a better plan, a better understanding of where to go with the ball," he said. "Not getting stuck in some bad situations where there are free blitzers or pressures and indecisiveness. I think that's part of it, a little better understanding, play a little smarter, understand the importance of protecting the football. I think all of those things play a factor in that."
He's also changed up his training routine, which has led to a more decisive arm. Quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan on Wednesday was the latest to note the improved strength and zip behind Manning's passes. At the age of 34, when most players start to see decreases in their physical abilities, Manning is improving his.
"Always looking for a way to get better, that's the goal," he said of altering his program, which has included baseball throwing techniques and training. "You can't get stuck in your ways. That's everybody . . . I learned more about how to stay stronger, how to get your arm stronger, how to maintain your body and eat better. Everything, especially as you get older, you start listening to your body a little bit more, understanding what works and try to eliminate the soreness. Taking care of your body a little bit more. It's a whole process."
Manning said he notices a difference too, even from last year when he was a young 33 years old.
"Last year I felt good," he said. "I think I feel better than I did at this time last year so I'm excited. Hopefully I can keep it that way."