Eli Manning sat out the preseason opener and it’s not exactly clear whether he will play on Saturday against the Bills.
As he enters his 13th NFL season, though, he’s stumping to get into some of the exhibition action.
“I need the preseason,” Manning said Tuesday on NFL Network. “For the quarterback, you go a long time without getting hit. I haven’t been hit coming up on nine months. It’s been a while. At practice I can work on moving the pocket but I also know those guys aren’t allowed to hit me in practice and in games those guys are trying very hard to hit me.”
That, of course, is likely one of the reasons why Ben McAdoo held Manning out of the opener last Friday and why many teams with established starting quarterbacks make similar decisions. There is no reason to risk injury to a player who has very little to prove in a preseason game.
Yet that’s exactly what Manning wants.
“I need to get that pocket movement, work on taking a hit and making sure that it’s not as bad as it seems sometimes,” he said. “I need that game speed, game environment, to get ready for Week 1.”
Whether he gets it in Buffalo or in the two other preseason games against the Jets and Patriots remains to be seen.