MANNING, GIANTS FOCUSED AS THEY RETURN TO FIELD
"As far as Eli Manning is concerned, the fulfillment of teammate Justin Tuck's
claim that the New York Giants can turn into an NFL dynasty began Wednesday with
the first organized team activity.
"It starts," Manning said, "right
With player equipment limited to only
helmets in this phase of OTAs, coaches conducted non-contact drills at the Timex
Performance Center. And while nothing spectacular happened, the champions were
indeed back on the field with some new additions, like first-round draft pick
"Basically, it's a chance for the young
guys to get out there and the coaches are trying to simplify things for them,"
Manning said. "We've got new guys and we've got to get them used to our style of
"It's getting used to how we practice,
how we prepare. When we come to the practice field, it's all business and full
While the two-time, Super Bowl MVP
quarterback indicated he has dynastic dreams, he said the team simply needs to
improve, starting with him.
"I'm just trying to play at my level
and my potential," Manning said.
Tuck, though, reiterated his plans to
collect three more rings to go along with the two he already has.
"Why shouldn't we be (a dynasty)," Tuck
asked. "I feel very confident in this team and this staff every year."
And this year, a seasoned Victor Cruz
plans to embrace a new role that Tuck and Manning already have: leader.
"It's a unique situation," Cruz said.
"I'm one of the older guys now, and the younger players look up to you. I'd like
to think I can make an impression on the younger guys that through seeing the
things that I do, they can see that things will happen through hard work."
Cruz finished last season with 82
catches and 1,536 yards receiving, which was a franchise single-season record.
He also had nine touchdowns.
But the feel-good, back-to-work day was
not without an injury. In fact, in the opening minutes, fourth-year cornerback
Brian Witherspoon went down in a simple position drill with yet another torn
ACL. Witherspoon, who would have played in the secondary on passing downs and on
special teams, missed all of last season when he tore the same one in the
While on the ground, his teammates
knelt in prayer.
"It was heartbreaking," defensive back
Terrell Thomas said. "It was just a Cover-2 drill, and the knee gave out. It's
just tough to see because we know what he went through coming off an injury.
You've got to go back out there and do it."