Seen-It-All Manning Looks at Newest Calamity

From bruises to travel alterations, Eli Manning has seen it all. So he's taking the move of the Jets-Giants preseason game to Monday in stride

The Giants had a walk-through Friday in preparation for an altered 2 p.m. kickoff to Saturday's Jets-Giants game. But when the game was finally moved to Monday at 7 p.m., the team came in for a morning practice before the Hurricane Irene situation turned completely nasty.

For Eli Manning, who has experienced just about everything weatherwise between growing up with hurricanes in New Orleans and experiencing not one, but two travel disasters last year in Minnesota and Green Bay, the situation wasn't a big deal.

The team did its work Saturday, and then hunkered down to wait out the approaching storm.

"It's really not that bad," Manning said Saturday. "We had a walk-thru yesterday and found out last night that the game had been postponed. I thought the guys adjusted.

"We came in today and I thought we really had a crisp, sharp practice. Guys were flying around, moving around. I got to see a few more Jets looks, since we had a short week in the first place. I think guys are now set on going home, resting up today and tomorrow."

Tom Coughlin said the adjustments were minor considering the potential impact of Irene.

"First and foremost, our thoughts are for the safety and well-being of everybody who has been and will be impacted by the hurricane system," Coughlin said. "We pray that all those people have taken the necessary precautions and that the aftermath is something that can be managed effectively. I think those officials responsible for public safety have done a good job of educating the public and helping people prepare."

Manning said he missed a few high school practices because of hurricanes in New Orleans, a city that would sign today for a Catagory 1 like Irene. The devastating Katrina, remember, was a Cat 5. Generally, the Mannings handled it by leaving town a couple of days early to miss the traffic and last-minute confusion.

But, he said, the surprise element of hurricanes never fades.

"You never quite expect it," he said. "Hopefully, it will weaken by the time it gets here and everyone will get out healthy and without too much damage done to the area. You never know what's going to be thrown at you. It's good they were able to detect it early and give people warning to get out of the way."

Manning said the only weird thing is the move.

"The weirdest thing will be tomorrow night, not being in the hotel, but being at home or wherever and then showing up for meetings Monday afternoon and then playing the game that night," Manning said. "That will be a different routine that we haven't had. But I think everyone has adjusted well. Obviously, we've been through this a little bit before, last year with the Minnesota game. So I think it's going pretty smoothly."

Unless Thursday's preseason finale in New England gets moved to the weekend, the Giants won't have a chance to have a real practice for that game beforehand. As of now, Coughlin plans to stick to his original plan of playing the starters 30 to 35 plays Monday. But it's unlikely they'll see any action at all Thursday.

"The coming week is going to be challenging, no question about it," Coughlin said. But we will adjust and adapt and make the best out of it."

"That's why this game is so important," Manning said. "I thought getting in another practice and running around today was helpful.

"This game coming is going to be very important. We're going to get some looks and see how we stand against a 3-4 team, a team that does some exotic blitzes and a top-quality team. We have to make sure everybody is on the same page and communicating and everybody is doing their responsibility. Hopefully, we'll go out there and play well.

"After that, we'll see what the schedule is. Usually, in the last preseason game you don't play much, anyway. We'll adjust next week."

Of course, once the hurricane blows through, Manning will have to worry about the Jets' defense. And that presents its own problem. He's intimately aware of the damage that tornado can do from his experience in the preseason opener last year, when the pass rush sacked him, knocked off his helmet, and opened a gash on his forehead.

But at least the Giants are home for this one. Last year, when snows and damage to the Metrodome roof moved their game to Detroit, they had to stay in Kansas City overnight. And then they were forced to stay in Green Bay after their game with the Packers because the New York airports were closed.

Complicating matters is that teams must cut their rosters from 90 to 80 by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

"Listen, there is nothing we can do about the current set of circumstances," Coughlin said. "We have to adjust and adapt. We have been evaluating our roster since the start of training camp.

"All we can do is take what we have had in terms of the totality of the preseason and make our decisions based on that. There really has been no precedent for this entire preseason."

But at least the Giants are becoming profient at changing plans on the fly.

"We're getting good at mid-stream adjustments," Coughlin said. "I don't know if that is something you necessarily want to perfect, but I think we're close."

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