Rich Eisen: I think, I'm not sure, I'm almost sure … yes the Giants did make a trade for a quarterback on draft day. Who's that guy? I think they made a trade with that guy. And, oh yes, there he is! On Giants cam, Eli Manning. How you doing Eli?
Eli Manning: I'm doing well, Rich. How you doing?
Eisen: I'm doing very well. How are things in New York City for you?
Manning: They're going well. We just broke camp last week. The rookies have another week, where we're just working out and training. But everything really went well.
Eisen: Just a few weeks in New York, Eli, are you already a grizzled media veteran?
Manning: I'm getting there. Obviously I've dealt with my first minicamp things. It went just like a regular first minicamp. I had some struggles here and there throwing to receivers you've never thrown to, but since then, everything's going well. The media, besides that first week, has been great. I'm feeling great right now.
Eisen: Yeah, that first week, it looked like a Super Bowl with the number of people who were out at your very first activity. Were you surprised to see that many people out there?
Manning: Sure, I was a little surprised. I thought I was just going in for a first practice and you look around and there's media left and right -- all over -- and they show some highlights of your practice. They were showing me throwing to this guy, striding out and me missing on him; they put that on the film on TV. So they can pretty much say whatever they want about you because you're always going to have bad plays. But I thought everything went well. Just your first day out there, you're going to have some struggles, throwing to receivers you've never thrown to before in your life and doing offense you've never done. But everything's finally slowed down and got a good feel on the offense.
Eisen: In those times and also right now, Eli, who are you turning to first to chat? Your brother, your dad, somebody around there?
Manning: Yeah, I talk to both of them quite a bit. I guess I talk to Peyton more about these things just because it's been more recent that he's been through this. It was just six years ago that he was going through the same thing I was and he just has a better feel about what defenses do, and when I want to talk about football with him. Then my dad … my dad's good to talk about dealing with the media and dealing those types of things. He's really good to talk about to also.
Eisen: The one main difference about what Peyton went through and what you're doing through, Eli, is that Jim Mora went to Peyton the day after the draft and said you are my guy from Day 1. Now obviously you're going to be the guy from Day 1 for the Giants. Will that be Day 1 in your estimation?
After some opening-camp mistakes, Eli Manning has settled down nicely. Manning: I really don't know. I don't know what's going to happen, and frankly I can't worry about that. I'm going to go out there and I'm competing for the starting job both Kurt (Warner) and I are. We both have the same thing in mind -- we want to do whatever's best for the New York Giants, and if that means that I sit, then I'm going to sit and learn and wait my time. It still doesn't change the way I prepare each week and go into practice. I'm still going to act as if I'm the starter and I'm preparing to play that week. And that's what just may be better for down the road when I do get in the game, I'll be ready to play.
Eisen: Do you want it to be Day 1?
Manning: That's what I'm competing for. That's what I'm going for. I'm going to get prepared to play in that first game. If it doesn't work out that way, I'm not going to be disappointed. I'm not going to go screaming and yelling and say I'm a failure in any way. I'm going to keep getting better, and obviously it's going to help me out to sit and watch a guy like Kurt Warner, who's been through a Super Bowl, who's been an MVP, and you know it can only help me in the process that it takes to becoming a young quarterback in the NFL.
Eisen: How was your first conversation with Kurt Warner?
Manning: It went really smooth. He came in that day. I talked to him in the weight room for a little bit; just chatted. But ever since, it's been a good relationship. When he came in, I had already been in this system about three weeks, so he was asking me some questions about just simple things -- just about protection or why we're calling this something. So he was asking me a few questions. Now he's got a good feel of everything. And if I ever have a question for him, I'll ask him about that or things they did in St. Louis that's comparable to the Giants and reads. So obviously he's been in this league long enough. There are certain plays that are very similar to what he's been running and he knows how to learn quickly and get through everything.
Eisen: Tom Coughlin. What was your conversation with him about your first time out?
Manning: Coach Coughlin has been great the whole time. The first time I ever talked to him was after I got drafted really, besides the time at the combine. He congratulated me, and about Kurt Warner he said we're going to bring him in and it doesn't change anything that you have to do. You still prepare to be the starter and he's going to put whoever puts the Giants in the best position to win. And hopefully I'm that guy. And if I'm not, I'm still going to be prepared, and when I do get my chance to play I'm going go out there and try to do the best I can.
Eisen: However you wind up on the depth chart, what do you think Tom Coughlin's relationship with the quarterback is going to be? Is he going to be really one on one, hands on with the quarterback in this system?
Manning: I'm not sure. Obviously our quarterback coach, coach Gilbride, our offensive coordinator, coach Hufnagel, have been really hands on with us, coaching us. And obviously coach Coughlin is an offensive-minded coach, and some of this stuff is his offense, so he'll definitely talk to us. If we make mistakes, he'll get on our case and be like a normal coach in that case. But I think our other offensive coaches will really be there to help us, and if we have questions right now, those are the guys that I've been going to ask questions to.
Eisen: Which side of the river are you going to wind up settling on, Eli? Jersey or New York City?
Manning: I think I'm going to be on the Jersey side. I don't want to deal with that traffic and New York. I'd get lost in a heartbeat being in there.
Eisen: You get lost? The streets are numbered you know?
Manning: Yeah, but there's all these tunnels and different things I haven't quite figured out yet.
Eisen: Well what are you doing between now after you're done with this rookie week and training camp? Are you going to go work at your camp with your dad and brother? Are you going to do that camp?
Manning: Right. I'm going to go back to New Orleans and we have that camp and the Manning Passing Academy in July, starting July 8th through the 11th. So that's something I always look forward to. It's a great time. And a chance to be with Peyton and my dad and my oldest brother, Cooper, all together and get to coach up some kids and then get to hang out a little bit and spend some time together.
Eisen: When you were a little kid, were you hoping this day would come? And when you were in college you knew it would come. But now it's here -- you're in the NFL. Did you ever imagine that your first few weeks would be so scrutinized in the National Football League?
Manning: No. You never think it would happen this way. You always think getting drafted and going to everything would go smoothly and be a great time, and obviously it was a special time and a great time. But I'm happy that everything did work out and how we got here. But sometimes to get what you want and to be in the best situation you have to go through some struggles and some high waters. And that's what we did, but I'm glad to be a New York Giant right now.
Eisen: Well Eli, we have an e-mail question for you. It reads more like a trick question. A fellow from South Carolina wants to know who you think is the league's top quarterback right now: Peyton, Brett Favre, Steve McNair or somebody else?
Manning: I might be a little biased, but I'd have to go with Peyton. (laughing) He's my brother and I always watched him play, so I don't think I can go wrong with that answer.
Eisen: Yeah, we had Peyton on the other day and he said that it's fun watching with you in the league. He's really excited about seeing this happen and you could hear it in his voice. He's really excited for you, Eli.
Manning: Well, that's good. He is my brother. He should be excited for me.
Eisen: (laughing) Yeah, there you go. There's a little saucy. Hey listen, enjoy your offseason. What's left of it, I guess. And say hi to your dad and your brother for us.
Manning: I will. Appreciate it, Rich.
Eisen: You got it. Eli Manning, quarterback of the New York Giants