Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Eli, Wrs Try to Find Same Page

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Eli, Wrs Try to Find Same Page

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD - The secret to success -- and lack thereof -- for receivers within the Giants' offense is found inside the mind of Eli Manning.

Preparation and communication matter as much as talent in unlocking those clues, often revealing nuances that can be the difference between game-saving touchdowns in victory and game- breaking takeaways that result in defeat.

The Giants (0-6) have turned over the ball an NFL-worst 23 times heading into tonight's game with Minnesota, perhaps the greatest reason why they remain winless.

Included in that total is another league-worst: 15 interceptions for Manning, matching his number for all of last season, a stat undoubtedly shared by those to whom he is throwing.

"You have to get in Eli's head, learn how to see things the way he sees them," Paterson native Victor Cruz said. "On specific routes, if he reads it one way and the receiver reads it another, that's not gonna work. The play's gonna be a bust. We've got to learn what he likes, what he expects you to do, what hole he expects you to be in and react that way. Once you know that, it's how big things happen.

"But it's a lot of work to get there, to make sure we're on the same page."

That work starts on the practice field in a given week and culminates with an extra session in the classroom on just about every Friday afternoon - Saturday in the case of this week against the Vikings - with Manning quizzing the likes of Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle and Louis Murphy Jr., among others.

The challenge is making sure everyone understands the details needed to perform.

That's the purpose of Manning's final meeting with his receivers each week, usually a 15-minute gathering during which the quarterback uses video to question teammates about schemes, reads and in-game scenarios that will test their knowledge and chemistry.

Manning added the get-together to the schedule "about five years ago" to enhance the connection between he and his receivers on game day. …

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