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Gilbride buzzes over "light years" that Manning has improved

Eli Manning of the New York Giants throws

Eli Manning of the New York Giants throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars at New Meadowlands Stadium. (Nov. 28, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

The Giants had to slim down their play-calling abilities over the last couple of weeks because of all the injuries to the receivers. There were times when Eli Manning would have been better off just pointing and yelling, in plain English, to one of the new targets: “Run here.”

Of course that strategy has been used before. As Manning prepares for his 100th consecutive start on Sunday, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride recalled an audible from the then-rookie Eli Manning in which he couldn’t remember the right term for the play he wanted to run. So instead of calling the wrong play at the line of scrimmage, Manning simply yelled “Toss here!”

“We've come a long way from that point,” Gilbride said somewhat proudly, calling Manning’s advancements over his career “light years” away from where he started.

Gilbride in particular remembered the game in 2004 when Manning faced the Ravens and came out with a 0.0 passer rating.

"They were just toying with him, turning their back on him and everything else because he was trying to point out who the Mike was,” Gilbride said of Manning’s efforts to identify the middle linebacker. “When he'd go to point out who it was, they'd turn around (sideways) like, ‘You can't see my number.’ It was not a good day.”

Things weren’t all bad back then. Some things worked. Even the “toss here” play was converted for a first down, Gilbride recalled.

“Sometimes we give the defense too much credit,” he said.

New York Sports