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Manning aims to prove Giants right for not drafting QB

The New York Giants eschewed the opportunity to draft a quarterback of the future with the No. 2 overall pick, instead relying on an aging Eli Manning for another season.

Big Blue brass continually backed Manning leading up to the NFL Draft in late April, but the biggest encouragement they provided the veteran was passing on the likes of Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen.

"It was kind of a vote of confidence in that they trusted in me that I can play at a high level, can win games, take us deep in playoffs and win championships and win championships still," Manning told SiriusXM NFL Radio's The Opening Drive. "And you know what? I want to prove them right and I want to make them look smart and make them to have made the right decision in doing that. I want to go out there and do great things, do my job and lead this team and make guys around me better and do what I'm supposed to do to put us in position to win those games."

Odell Beckham is on schedule to return. The offense added Saquon Barkley, Nate Solder and Will Hernandez to positions of need. Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram appear on the verge of making the leap. The biggest question for Pat Shurmur's offense is the arm of his 37-year-old quarterback.

As much as Manning loves the offensive improvements, the veteran knows it will take gelling on the field to make a jump in the win column in 2018.

"Now it's just a matter of, can we put it all together on game day?" Manning said. "Can we find ways to make big plays in critical moments of the game? Can we win those tough-nosed battles where, hey, maybe not everything's going perfect but can you find a way to win in the fourth quarter? Can you put it all together in crunch time and find a way just a way to get those victories? Those are the teams that tend to have great years, the ones that are just gritty and tough and figure out ways to win football games.

"I think, on paper, it's kind of all where it needs to be. Now it's a matter, hey, can we put it all into play and make it work on Sundays?"

On paper, the Giants have a brutally difficult schedule, opening with five 2017 playoff teams in the first seven tilts. Coming out of the gate quick will be vital for Manning to prove New York brass did the right thing passing on a QB.

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