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Mike Sullivan not worried about Eli Manning’s poor preseason

Giants quarterback Eli Manning makes a pass during

Giants quarterback Eli Manning makes a pass during warmups before the start of a preseason game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. Credit: George McNish

Zero. It’s the number of points Eli Manning was able to score this preseason, but it’s also the number of concerns offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan has regarding his starting quarterback’s readiness.

“Eli Manning is the least of our worries at this point,” he said.

Sullivan happily pointed out that Manning often performs miserably in the preseason.

“There were some horrific preseasons,” he said. “In fact, I am also thinking: ‘Well, gosh, his last really bad [preseason] was 2011.’ Not that I’m superstitious.”

Manning won a second Super Bowl — and was named Super Bowl MVP for the second time — after that ugly start.

Sullivan, who has coached Manning for years, said he could not give a concrete answer as to why he regularly struggles in August.

“There are a bunch of factors,” he said. “You are in evaluation mode, you don’t necessarily get into a rhythm, there are a lot of factors that go into that.”

And yet Manning has thrown 18 touchdown passes in his 11 previous opening day games.

“Again,” Sullivan said, “he’s going to be ready to go.”

Berhe creates tough decision

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said that even though rookie safety Darian Thompson spent almost all of the preseason as the starter, there’s no guarantee he’ll get that job back when fully healthy. The team has been impressed by backup Nat Berhe, who seems poised to start in the opener while Thompson has been limited because of a shoulder injury.

“Part of that is to keep Nat out there because he’s deserved to be out there,” Spagnuolo said. “He’s played pretty well.”

Thompson and linebacker Jonathan Casillas (ribs) were limited for a second straight practice on Thursday but made it through the full-pads workout without any setbacks and should be in uniform on Sunday.

Giant steps

Wide receiver Dwayne Harris suffered from heat exhaustion in the post-practice locker room. Defensive tackle Robert Thomas missed practice because of illness . . . Spagnuolo said Giants vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross put together tape of Dallas rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott from their college games to give the coaches a deeper idea of what they can do beyond the four preseason games in which they have appeared . . . The Giants will not practice on Friday but will have a “Fresh Friday” to recover physically. They will have a “Launch Practice” on Saturday before flying to Dallas.


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