After winning three of their last four games to end the season, the New York Giants enter 2015 with high hopes and high expectations.
“Yeah, everything’s feeling great,” two-time Super Bowl champion Eli Manning said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “We just finished up mini-camp and our offseason program yesterday. I’m excited. It feels so much more comfortable the second year in the offense for me and all the offensive players. Under Ben McAdoo’s offense, I’m liking everything. We got a lot of weapons. I’m looking forward to training camp where we’ll hopefully get all of our weapons on the field and get Odell (Beckham Jr.) and Victor Cruz back. I’m excited. I think it could be a special season for us.”
It took the Giants some time to gel on offense last year. They were in their first year of McAdoo’s West Coast offense, Manning was coming off ankle surgery, and Beckham and Cruz missed a combined 14 games due to injury.
“Yeah, last year was a grind,” Manning said. “To have a new offense and to miss the first part of the offseason program with my ankle surgery was tough. To kind of battle through it and learn on the run and get going, I thought we finished the season really strong and really got a good feel of the offense. But this year was great just to have two months to work on the footwork, to work on the little things that create rhythm and timing within the offense. I’m excited about that because of the way I feel and the way this offense is going to work this season.”
The offense should benefit from the addition of Shane Vereen, who might be the Giants’ most dangerous pass-catching tailback since Tiki Barber. Vereen has 99 catches for 874 yards and six touchdowns over the last two seasons (24 games).
“I think Shane’s had a great spring,” Manning said. “(We’re) just kind of (seeing) what all he’s capable of. Splitting him out wide, getting him outside the backfield – it’s a little different for me. Sometimes your running back is your first read on certain plays. So I think it’s a little different even for Coach McAdoo. He’s never had a running back with this type of ability and talent. I think it’s a great way to find completions and get mismatches. You can get Shane on linebackers. That’s a great way to get completions and add another weapon to the arsenal.”
New York has made the playoffs just once in the last five seasons (2011) but won the Super Bowl that year. In fact, they’ve won the Super Bowl in two of their last three playoff appearances. It’s just a matter of getting back there.
On a non-football note, Chris Simms, who was filling in for Barber as co-host of Tiki and Tierney, had a very important question for Manning: If he, Peyton, Cooper and Archie all played a game of H-O-R-S-E, who would win?
“It’s going to be a tight battle,” Eli said. “I think I have the advantage because Peyton can’t shoot lefty. I like the left- handed shot. My dad cannot make the granny shot. The granny shot gets him every time.”