Manning confident he still has the talent to make the Giants a winner



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EAST RUTHTHERFORD, New Jersey — Eli Manning isn't listening to the whispers that his storied career with the New York Giants is starting to slide.

Despite a miserable game in a season-opening 35-14 loss to the Detroit Lions, the two-time Super Bowl MVP was confident Wednesday that he'll master the team's new west coast offense and get the Giants back to their winning ways.

"No doubts," Manning said when asked about whether he felt he could continue to well in his 11th season, "I feel confident that we can play at a high level and this offense can score points and we can make plays, and i can be a good leader and a good player. So I am going to keep working and be 100 percent committed to go out there and put this team in a situation to win."

Game 1 in coordinator Ben McAdoo's system was not good. Manning didn't have time to throw and completed 18 of 33 for 163 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The running game was limited to 53 yards and New York converted on three of 13 third-down chances.

While they had two long touchdown drives, the Giants collected four first downs on their other eight series.

It was ugly. So were Manning's statistics after the opening weekend. He ranked last in the NFC in quarterback rating and yards passing and he was next to last — No. 31 overall — in both quarterback rating and rank for leading passers.

"Obviously as the quarterback of this team, any team, you are going to get the blunt of the blame," wide receiver Victor Cruz said. "It's all not his fault. It's not all everything he is doing. It's all of us collectively understanding what we have to do, executing the game plan and moving on from there. Obviously being the quarterback you get the majority of the blame, which is unfortunate."

There was enough blame to go around. The line didn't give Manning much time to throw, so he rarely had time to go downfield. The running game didn't do much so it made New York one dimensional once it fell behind.

Manning, however, saw some things that he liked.

"I don't know if there are things that are broken," he said. "I think it's just a matter of we have to find out what we do well and what we can handle as an offensive group and not throw more on our plate than we can eat. We just have to go out there and make sure what we are doing, we can do efficiently."

The offense did look good on the two touchdown series, and the common thread was on each drive they played fast and made plays.

It's something the offense is going to need to do Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals (1-0), another team that has a lot of weapons on offense and plays stout defense.

San Diego was limited to 52 yards by Arizona in its opener.

"We are going to have to grind through some times," said Manning, who threw a career-high 27 interceptions last season. "It's not all going to be perfect and easy. I think each game you are going to get better. Each game things are going to come up that you are going to learn from. You might not always be ahead of the game on some things. That's part of it, but still you can go out there and be efficient. You can make improvements, make some big plays, do things."

The concern would be if players weren't on the same page and Manning insisted that wasn't the problem on Monday night.

Right tackle Justin Pugh admits the opener was not pretty.

"It's not like we are not preparing, or working out or not practicing," the second-year pro said. "It's all the same things we always do. We just have to keep getting better. We put in a lot of extra work each week. People might think we're sitting home playing video games, It's not happening. Just because you have a bad day at work one day, I'm not going to sit around and say: 'What have you been doing your whole career?' We have to keep working and we know that."

NOTES: Despite not practicing, punter Steve Weatherford is hopeful that he will be able to play Sunday despite sustaining ligament damage in his left ankle in the season opener. PK Josh Brown would be the emergency punter and backup QB Ryan Nassib would replace Weatherford as the holder. ...Rookie LB Devon Kennard (hamsting) and DT Cullen Jenkins (hip) did not practice. WR Odell Beckham, DT Markus Kuhn and T James Brewer remain sidelined.

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