When he was a younger quarterback, Eli Manning tried too hard to keep people happy. Now, he’s learned that doing his job the right way, and spending less time worrying about others will lead to greater success.
Manning admitted he fell into bad habits as a younger quarterback, trying to satisfy needy veteran targets such as Plaxico Burress, Jeremy Shockey and Tiki Barber, who once questioned his leadership.
“I think early on we probably had receivers who in practice, you’d try to force them to get them balls so they don’t get down or you keep them happy, and I think you create bad habits doing that,” Manning said, via Jorge Castillo of the Newark Star-Ledger. “As I got older and we got younger, new guys in, it evolved to doing it the correct way, going through the reads, saying you’ve got to earn the right to get open.
“It’s all based on the coverage and on the reads and I’ve got to do that to make sure I’m doing the right things and not getting into bad habits.”
That’s enabled Manning to lead the league in passing yards this season, not despite a series of injuries to his wide receivers, but perhaps because of it.
Other than Victor Cruz, there hasn’t been a steady presence in the lineup, so Manning has had to develop relationships with whoever’s out there.
“As a quarterback you always want to trust your guys and I tell them that I don’t have favorites, I’m not going to force it to one guy,” Manning said. “I’ve got a read and a progression. If you want to know what my progression is, I’ll be happy to tell you. And I’m going to stick to that. If you’re my first read, it’s your job to get open. If you’re not, then I’m going on to the next guy.
“I’m going to stick to those progressions and have faith that if you’re the first read that you’re going to get open for us.”
And having that kind of confidence, and lack of distractions, has made him a better quarterback and leader.