We talked with New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning via conference call this morning.
Coughlin said with all the personnel changes Seattle had made since the Giants pummeled Seattle last year 41-7 at CenturyLink Field, his coaching staff focused more of their efforts on reviewing film from this season.
“It’s a new team,” he said. “(They have) five new starters on defense and 10 new starters on offense. So it’s a new team, and I think you’re best suited to try and understand this team, and how they play and where they’ve come from. So we’ve primarily have done most of our work – our off-season work was obviously intended for last year’s team – but this year we quickly note with so many changes you should be studying this club.”
Manning was asked about his team outscoring the Seahawks 85-13 the last two times they’ve met affecting the way his team approaches Sunday’s contest.
“Last year they had a new quarterback (Charlie Whitehurst) in,” Manning said. “And we had some turnovers and got some field position, and then all of a sudden we got a big lead early on.
“And so I think we expect it’s going to be a tight game. And their offense is really clicking and they’re scoring some points. And defensively they’ve done a good job and have played tight, and have played hard football for four quarters. And we’ve got to expect that and give our best effort.”
Listen to a snippet of Manning’s conversation below.
[wpaudio url="http://blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks/files/2011/10/EliManningaudio.mp3" text=MP3 Eli Manning audio"]
Manning also talked about what he expects to face from Seattle’s defense. Last year, Manning carved up the Seahawks, completing 21 of 32 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. He finished the game with a 125.8 passer rating
“There’s a lot of new faces on defense,” Manning said. “They’re playing good football. They’re doing a good job. They have some speed with their rushers and they can get to the quarterback. They do a good job showing different looks, and have a good little blitz package
“And then their safeties are very aggressive in getting into the mix, and they’re good players. They have a new corner (Brandon Browner) who’s likes to press. So I think they’re playing aggressive and confident, and playing good football.”
Manning also talked about how he’s taking better care of the ball this season. Last year he finished 2010 with 25 interceptions and five lost fumbles. This year, Manning has just two interceptions and no fumbles. His 105.6 passer rating is No. 3 in the league.
“I’m just trying to make smarter decisions,” Manning said. “I’m trying to make sure that I throw the ball accurately, and put in the right locations. Concentrate on being confident on my throws before I make them, and not putting them into a crowded area. So I’m just trying to continue and do that.
“And we’ve been in situations where we haven’t been way down, or haven’t been in a bad spot in the game where you’re forced to try and make plays.”
Coughlin said his team focuses on football-specific drills that work on ball security each week during practice, and that has paid off.
“We do drill it,” Coughlin said. “We do a lot with trying to take care of the ball. Two hands on the ball, two hands when you feel pressure coming. Keep both hands on it – don’t get caught with just one hand on the ball.
“And we do gauntlet and high-and-tight drills. And swat drills where people are swatting at the ball carrier or the quarterback or the receiver with the ball. We do a bunch of those things.”
“We’ve been playing pretty smart football,” Manning said about the team’s 3-1 start. “We haven’t made tons of mistakes. We haven’t put ourselves in bad situations, and we’ve been able to find ways to win.”