PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Colts owner Jim Irsay suggested quarterback Andrew Luck didn’t play against the Bills in Saturday’s preseason opener because Buffalo coach Rex Ryan is too aggressive with his defensive schemes, even in the exhibition season.
Will the Giants follow suit and keep Eli Manning, who didn’t play in Friday’s preseason opener against the Dolphins, on the bench?
“We’d blitz the hell out of them,” Ryan told Newsday after Monday’s practice. “If they don’t play Eli, that’d be good with me. I don’t care. It’s a preseason game, you know what I mean?”
Actually, Ryan takes issue with Irsay’s suggestion, which came via a Twitter post on Saturday when he wrote, “Yes, there is some truth on this dark, rainy night that my good friend Rex . . . has never heard of the word . . . PRESEASON.”
“News to me,” Ryan said about Irsay’s comments. “I’m like, watch the tape. See how many times we really blitzed. I think we blitzed twice, and we got beat by one of them. We had five-man pressures, like every team in the league. I don’t think we went over the top. Look, I know who the quarterback is. It’s good for the league for this guy [Luck] to be upright. There’s no question.
“We’re trying to look at and evaluate our team, and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. “I love the NFL, and I want to see players play. I never try to blitz Andrew Luck any more than I blitz anybody else. Not even close.”
Asked if he was stung by the shot Irsay took, Ryan said, “Hell, I don’t care. No big deal.”
Ryan admits, however, that he did take preseason games against the Giants more seriously when he was the Jets’ coach from 2009 to 2014. In the 2010 Jets-Giants preseason game, Calvin Pace hit Manning so hard on one pass rush that he knocked the quarterback’s helmet off and caused a gash to Manning’s forehead that required several stitches to close.
“Eli and I laughed about it,” Ryan said. “We were at this thing for Peyton [Manning’s] retirement deal, and Eli said, ‘All right, I got to get ready for the [formation] overloads and that. It might have been a little special when the Jets and Giants played. There might have been a little extra there, no question about that. But it was a fun competition. You never want to hurt somebody, but there was a little special thing there.”
No word from the Giants about how much — or how little — Manning will play against the Bills.
“We’ll see,” coach Ben McAdoo said Sunday.