New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning gets ready to pass in a game against the Detroit Lions last season. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will make his 2017 preseason debut Monday night in Cleveland.
Manning, who dressed but did not play in last week's season opener, is expected to play into the second quarter with the rest of the team's starters, McAdoo said. It will be Manning's' first extensive live game action with the team's revamped skill players, such as receiver Brandon Marshall, tight ends Rhett Ellison and Evan Engram, new starting running back Paul Perkins, and, of course, holdover receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.
"I think that is big," Manning said of having the chance to work with the revamped offense. "I think you are always going to learn something from every practice, but especially from every game. They play different coverages or you get a different look and you have to adjust and learn from it, so for some of the new guys, we will learn together and be on the same page. It is a great opportunity to go out there and be tested."
Manning, who will be testing out a new piece of equipment Monday night -- a glove worn on his left hand that he hopes will give him a better grip on the ball once it's snapped -- said his objective for his first preseason action of the year is very simple.
"I think for me it is just finding completions, running the offense smoothly, make sure everybody is on the same page of communication," he said.
"Also having great movement in the pocket and not moving too much if you don't need to. Feeling the rush and being able to make subtle movements to get your feet in place and being able to throw the ball and make smart decisions."
That includes getting on the same page with everyone else.
"I think any time you get some live game exposure, you are trying to get on the same page as your receivers. For the first time in eight months, it is live.
"Now I know that these guys can hit me, they can tackle me, they can go at me. I think that getting used to that, feeling things in the pocket, not looking at the rush, but feeling the rush and buying a little extra time or moving in the pocket and finding a completion."
Manning grinned when asked about the challenge of trying to keep all his receivers and tight ends happy with pass distributions.
"I think you want to get everybody involved. I think that's good and that's when we'll be at our best, when we have all the guys getting catches, feeling involved in the offense," he said.
At the same time, the veteran quarterback said it's important to not try to force throws just for the sake of getting someone who doesn't have a pass target in a game on the stat sheet.
"You can't get overly concerned with if someone doesn't have a catch, then you have to go out of your way to force a throw to them and that's going to affect the team," he said.
"I'd like to have everybody have eight catches in a game. It's not going to happen, but you never know. They all have to be ready and they have to get open."
--Meanwhile, veterans Josh Johnson and Geno Smith are neck in neck for the No. 2 quarterback job behind Manning.
With neither man really distinguishing himself in the team's preseason opener last week, head coach Ben McAdoo threw another stoke on the competitive fire by hinting that rookie Davis Webb, who has gradually been earning more and more practice reps outside of the seven-on-seven developmental period McAdoo has designated for young players trying to acclimate to the NFL level, might enter the fray.
"I think we all have to be careful making assumptions," McAdoo said when asked about the backup quarterback battle being limited to Smith and Johnson. "Josh and Geno are competing right now for the No. 2 spot, and if that doesn't look the way we want it to look, Davis will get a crack."
Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, who didn't slam the door shut on the possibility, was a bit more pragmatic with his response.
"Well, there is always a chance of anything happening," Sullivan said before adding, "Right now, we are taking an approach with Davis where he has had a lot of work in the developmental period where we pull some players aside and do some cross training that goes on with some of the other players and he has certainly done very well in the meeting room. He is understanding what to do and how to do certain things."
Webb, who came to the Giants with realistic expectations for himself as a rookie, has been the picture of patience while he makes the adjustment from the Air Raid to the West Coast offense, and credits Manning for being a glowing example.
"It's easy to be patient because you have a guy in the room like Eli Manning who comes in every day, one of the first people in the building and one of the last ones to leave and he's been in the league as long as he has," Webb said.
"He sets the standard, and I need to reach it. I'm not there yet -- I'm not even close. That's what I'm striving for every day, and I'm going to continue to work to get there."
While the possibility of Webb getting bumped up in status ahead of time does exist, realistically, it's a long shot.
"Right now, we've got Josh and Geno that are battling it out for that second position," Sullivan said. "We will see how that unfolds and cross any bridges when we get to them if something like that were to not resolve itself."
Like McAdoo, Sullivan was encouraged by what he saw from Webb, the team's third-round draft pick this year, in the preseason opener.
"He was energized," he said. "Like any rookie, they are going to make some mistakes, but he was certainly not overwhelmed. He was prepared, he was excited, and I think the young man has a bright future."