Happy Thursday, New York Giants fans! We're now inside of three weeks until the start of training camp and less than a month away from Big Blue taking on the Buffalo Bills in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. In an effort to help pass some time, we offer you the following headlines to enjoy over your morning coffee.
It's impossible to discuss Manning without mentioning the two Lombardi Trophies he brought to New York, but it's almost equally impossible to overlook his struggles last season, when he had career highs in interceptions (a league-leading 27) and sacks (39) and near-lows in touchdown passes (18) and quarterback rating (69.4). He's topped the NFL in picks before — in 2010 and the Super Bowl-winning campaign of 2007 — but 2013 marked his first full campaign as the Giants' starter in which he had more interceptions than scoring tosses. It was also the first season in which he finished with a losing record.
I would by no means write Manning off just yet, however. He's still a very hard worker with excellent throwing mechanics and footwork, and he's still accurate, with a quick release. Plus, he should be healthier than he was last year after undergoing offseason ankle surgery. Ultimately, he's got so much pride that I'm sure he'll do everything possible — like cutting down on bad throws — to erase memories of last season. We should note that even with the issues that dogged Manning and the Giants in 2013, including a lesser supporting cast, the team still managed to pull out a 7-9 record after starting 0-6.
Q: Are the reads you have to make now more closely related versus last year when it might have been all over the map?
A: Yeah, it was all over the map last year. Everything now is pretty much here or there. Like I said, it cuts down on all the miscommunications between the quarterback and the receivers. Hopefully, we can turn some of those turnovers from last year into touchdowns.
Last week, South Dakota State wrestling coach Chris Bono went to his hometown of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., to conduct a youth camp. It's something he's done almost every summer for the last 15 years, an attempt to give back to the area.
But this time Bono got a personal bonus: Time with New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin. It wasn't a chance encounter; Coughlin became good friends with Bono's father, Ernie, when he was the coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The families have spent holidays together over the years.
"I've learned a ton from him," said Bono, a former NCAA Division I national champion at Iowa State who is entering his third season with the Jackrabbits. "I've learned about everything from discipline to following through and how you lead your life. Even people in the NFL look up to him. He's the first one in the office. He gets up at 4:30 a.m. and is there from 5-5."
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