Eli Manning's toughness has never been something in question. But after taking a beating during the 2013 season, which ended early due to an ankle injury that eventually required offseason surgery, Manning has seemed a bit timid thus far throughout the preseason.
That changed on Friday night as Manning once again resumed his role as one tough SOB, taking shot after shot from the New York Jets defense, bouncing back up each time.
The relentless pressure, sacks and hits had Manning scrambling for his life early on, but after absorbing some big-time knocks, the timidness eventually faded away and Manning found some level of comfort both in the pocket and on the move, eventually leading the Giants on a 91-yard touchdown drive at the end of the first half. And while he admits he never likes to see his quarterback take that many big hits, head coach Tom Coughlin felt Manning's ability to absorb the blows and get back up is nothing short of a positive.
"He re-established himself as a tough customer tonight because he got drilled a few times and bounced right back up and made plays," Coughlin said. "You never want to see him hit, but he got hit and he got back up and made some plays down the stretch at the end of the half."
Never one to point fingers, Manning accepted some of the blame for the hits after the game, saying he has to do a better job moving around in the pocket and finding some space.
"When you play the Jets it is always going to be a challenge when you get in third down to protect what they’re doing," Manning said. "They show a lot of different looks and a lot of overload blitzes, but there is going to be pressure. I have to do a better job of moving around in the pocket and finding windows and finding lanes."
As tough as Easy-E may be, the Giants desperately need to do a better job protecting him. They can't afford to go through another season without properly shielding their franchise player from crushing blows because injury is inevitable. They were lucky enough he managed to make it to Week 17 a year ago before suffering serious injury and that's not likely to be the case again in 2014.
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