Follow Eli Manning’s lead.
Not just the script for his successor with the Giants, Daniel Jones. That’s also the advice quarterbacks across the NFL are getting during the coronavirus pandemic, courtesy of older brother Peyton Manning.
Peyton told NBC Sports’ Peter King he is relaying a story of how Eli led the Giants through the 2011 NFL lockout, when contact between players and coaches was prohibited during the tense Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations.
The Giants finished 9-7 that season but won the NFC East and then beat the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots to finish as Super Bowl 46 champions.
Peyton and Eli recently were on a Zoom call for a friend who works in investment banking and someone asked, “How would you handle this situation as a quarterback?”
“Eli talked about organizing their own workouts and taking some ownership,” Peyton said. “Eli got practice scripts, like blitz walk-through drawings, diagrams, he got practice jerseys, he organized workouts at a high school. He was kind of the head coach/coordinator and they were doing full routes and doing 7-on-7 and blitzes at practice. He was really thorough.”
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Comparisons between 2011 and 2020 are frequent around the NFL because of the closed facilities and lack of offseason practices.
The key differences: In 2011, players could not talk to coaches. In 2020, players and coaches are having virtual meetings and, in some cases, workouts. In 2011, players could meet up for joint self-run practices. In 2020, social distancing limits the size of gatherings.
“I’ve done a few Zoom calls,” Peyton said. “I did the Buffalo Bills quarterback room meeting. Did the Los Angeles Rams full team meeting. Did the Bears quarterbacks. That was kinda my message … follow Eli’s lead. Quarterbacks, take ownership. All these Zoom meetings, right now, the coaches are leading them.
“My message was to the quarterbacks. ‘Hey, organize your own Zoom meetings without the coaches, just get you and the tight ends, you and the receivers.’ It’s actually an opportunity to even have better communication. Because there’s nothing else to do, right? Hey, every Tuesday, 9 a.m., quarterbacks and the offensive line, Zoom, watching film. Instead of complaining about it, see it as an opportunity to really improve. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have every play from last year studied down to the T.”
If there is an NFL season and a Super Bowl, the popular favorites are the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. But Peyton, who was 2-2 in the big game, favors whichever team quietly wins May and June.
“I think the team that wins it all this year is gonna be the team that’s really getting an edge during this time,” he said. “Kind of like the Giants in 2011.”
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