Eli remains confident despite rough season

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
4:25
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Eli Manning surged back into the league-lead in interceptions Sunday, but the New York Giants quarterback said Monday that he has not lost confidence in himself.

"I feel I can go out there and play well, and still throw the ball well and move this offense," Manning said, a day after throwing a career-high five interceptions in a 23-0 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. "Obviously we have struggled offensively. But I’m not gonna change my preparation, my thought process, and I know that I can go out there and do my job well and get us a win."

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
AP Photo/Peter MorganGiants QB Eli Manning says he's going to continue working hard toward getting the team some wins and the offense moving.
It's been a very disappointing season for Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP who should still be in his prime at the age of 32. His current completion percentage, 58.6, is his lowest since 2007. He has just 16 touchdown passes, five fewer than his full-season career-low of 21 (in 2008). And he has 25 interceptions -- four more than New York Jets rookie Geno Smith, the next closest QB -- with two more games to play.

In the past 15 years, only two quarterbacks have thrown more than 25 interceptions in a season -- Brett Favre (29 in 2005) and Jay Cutler (26 in 2009).

Manning also threw 25 interceptions in 2010, and the day after that season ended, he declared, "I'm not a 25-interception quarterback."

He didn't make the same declaration Monday, a day after reaching that number for the second time in his 10-year NFL career.

"I try not to get caught up with a number of interceptions," Manning said. "You try to look at plays, and you try to look at decisions, and try to see whether decisions are poor, or why a throw might be inaccurate, or just kind of put it all together.

"There’s always a part of just trying to compete, trying to make plays at the end of games. Hopefully I'll try to do a better job, and not obviously have turnovers that are costing us the game."

To be fair, Manning hasn't had a lot of help this year. The Giants have the fifth-worst rushing offense in the NFL, averaging just 83.5 yards per game on the ground. Hakeem Nicks, once upon a time a gamebreaker and Manning's favorite target, has had a very underwhelming season (50 receptions, 794 yards, 0 touchdowns). And Manning has already been sacked 36 times, nearly twice as many as last season (19).

Giants coach Tom Coughlin said as much Monday, when asked about the process of getting Manning back to playing at an elite level.

"Well, I think it's probably gonna come in small gains, but I believe it'll come, I really do," Coughlin said. "And don’t forget, he doesn't operate on his own. The whole package has gotta be there."
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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