Vikings next opponent: Coughlin standing by Eli
- Article by: TOM CANAVAN
- Associated Press
- October 18, 2013 - 7:16 AM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — With an 0-6 record, Tom Coughlin is considering a lot of things to make the New York Giants better.
Changing quarterbacks isn't one.
Coughlin dismissed any possible speculation about replacing Eli Manning for Monday night's game against the Vikings (1-4), saying that the 10-year veteran and two-time Super Bowl MVP is the leader of the Giants offense.
"He's the guy," Coughlin said Thursday. "We're going to win again with Eli."
The 67-year-old Coughlin was so caught off guard on Wednesday when he was asked about benching the struggling Manning in a conference call with the Minnesota media that he asked for the question to be repeated. He backed Manning on Wednesday and his view was the same Thursday, adding he hadn't even thought about giving Manning a quarter off to watch either Curtis Painter or rookie Ryan Nassib run the team.
"We talk about some of the issues, some of the problems that we've had and how we can handle that going forward and usually it's a pat on the back and let's see if we can change this around," Coughlin said.
Manning seemed surprised when asked about his status. He said he is working to correct his mistakes and hoping to make the plays to get the team its first win. Reading the newspapers or watching television to see what people think about his play isn't on his to-do list.
"I am not listening to what is being said," Manning said after practice on Thursday. "I know the NFL or anything you are doing it's a case of what have you done for me lately. Each year you have to go out there and prove you deserve to be at the position you are in, and earn your spot.
"Obviously, I have to play better, at a higher level and I know I can do that."
This has been a horrible season for Manning. Eight of his league-high 15 interceptions have come in the fourth quarter, a time when he used to be one of the best in the business.
The interceptions are only part of the problem. The Giants' running game has struggled in five of the six games and the banged-up offensive line has allowed 16 sacks. While the receivers have made catches, they also have run the wrong patterns and dropped plenty of passes, including a couple that might have been big plays.
It's all added up to some horrible statistics. Manning is third from the bottom in quarterback ratings (64.0). Only Josh Freeman of Minnesota and Blaine Gabbert of Jacksonville are below him.
"I don't think I've ever lost six in a row, but hey, we're going to bounce back and I think we've been playing better these last couple of weeks," Manning said. "We just have to find a way to finish the games that get into the fourth quarter and start playing even at a higher level in the fourth quarter."
Guard Kevin Boothe laughed at the idea of replacing Manning.
"That would be ridiculous to say that we're 0-6 because of Eli," Boothe said. "I think that has been our problem. It's been different spots. It's been all of us. We've all had our moments and unfortunately that is what has contributed to our getting off to such a rough start."
Manning hasn't changed his approach to games. He is analyzing his performances each week, seeing what went wrong and trying to avoid the same mistakes.
"I'm not looking for a pep talk," he said. "You make corrections, you look to see if there's anything, whether it's fundamental, whether it's decision-making, those types of things. We talk a bunch in our quarterback meeting room and try to solve the problems and put us in a good situation to win. "
The Giants have been competitive in five games in the second half — only to come up short.
"People say a lot of things," receiver Victor Cruz said. "We believe in our quarterback. We believe in Eli Manning. He is our guy.
"We're behind him 110 percent."
© 2014 Star Tribune