EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Eli Manning sees his dismal preseason statistics and isn't concerned.
Preseason is a time to get used to standing in the pocket, to get adjusted to new teammates and to take a hit or two. And that's just what the New York Giants quarterback says he has done in the first three preseason games.
Manning has not had a ton of success playing behind a revamped offensive line, and without departed wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Kevin Boss. He has completed just over 49 percent of his passes, has not thrown a touchdown and tossed two interceptions. The offense has scored 16 points with him at the controls.
Certainly not Tom Brady-type stats, but Manning is certain things will change once the regular season starts on Sept. 11 at Washington.
"We're ready," Manning said. "You know, I've never put too much on preseason. Obviously you want to go out there and perform well and move the ball and score touchdowns. That makes you feel good. But I wouldn't rely just on what happens in preseason and what's going to happen in the regular season. We put a lot of effort into the regular season on our preparation to put us in the right situations and studying defenses. In preseason, not as much is done."
Manning believes the offense will spend the next week getting things straightened out.
Coach Tom Coughlin refused to say whether Manning and the first team will see action in the preseason finale against New England on Thursday, but if they do they will not play much.
"When you get to this point I think the most important point is going into the season healthy," Manning said. "Our offense is healthy right now. You don't want to rush anything, put guys in a situation where they're playing on short notice for a series or two. Whatever he decides, we'll agree with and do our job. We're preparing and getting ready."
Manning said it's easy to be fooled by preseason statistics. Unlike the preseason, there is little game planning and he admitted he does not take chances in meaningless games.
"It's preseason, you try to stay injury free," Manning said. "You try not to take extra hits. You try to say: 'Hey, we got a bad play, I'm not going to try to sit around here, try to wait for something to come up and wait for something maybe to get open.' Hey, you hit your check down, you go on. There's a little bit of that."
Manning said the Giants did a lot of good things in their 17-3 loss to the Jets on Monday night. They moved the ball, but failed to convert when they got into position.
"No one's going to ever remember what your preseason numbers are," he said. "It's about learning, it's about seeing things, getting used to taking a hit, getting used to having a live rush move into the pocket, seeing things, making adjustments, playing against a new team. That's why it's preseason, it's just preparation for the regular season."
Giants coach Tom Coughlin said that one of Manning's interceptions against the Jets resulted because a receiver failed to make the proper adjustment on a blitz.
"You have to be where you are supposed to be at the exact time and proper depth," Coughlin said. "You have to be able to react to the world around you to make the proper adjustments."
Manning took some of the blame for the failure of the receiver to adjust, saying he probably should have thrown the ball into the ground when he noticed his receiver out of position.
Veteran linebacker Michael Boley wasn't concerned about Manning.
"It is the preseason and they are still working on things like we are still working on things on the defensive side of the ball," Boley said. "Those are things and reasons why we use this time wisely to focus on those things. I have the utmost confidence in Eli so whenever this regular season starts, he will be clicking on all cylinders."
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