Scouting report: Chargers fans 'welcome' Eli Manning

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA
Eli Manning is finally coming to San Diego – and he's coming with a team that through two weeks is in much better shape than the team he shunned 17 months ago.The Giants are one of seven 2-0 teams, which is surprising only in that they were 6-10 a year ago.

What they've really done is win two games at Giants Stadium, one against hapless Arizona and Monday's against a New Orleans team that self-destructed with six turnovers and 13 penalties.

It's only the second time in 10 years the Giants opened 2-0; the other time was in 2000, when they finished 12-4 and advanced to Super Bowl XXXV. A repeat of that record or accomplishment would be shocking, but there's no question the Giants appear to be a better team this year.

Manning is improving in his first full season as a starter, and the Giants added quality players at wide receiver (Plaxico Burress) and right tackle (Kareem McKenzie) to go with their Pro Bowl running back (Tiki Barber) and tight end (Jeremy Shockey).

The defense is more of a concern, especially against the pass. Aaron Brooks completed 27-of-45 for 375 yards Monday, with wide receivers Joe Horn and Donte' Stallworth combining for 17 catches and 284 yards. But the Giants did intercept three passes.

Eli Manning: Maybe you've heard of the Giants' quarterback. Still struggles at times but his arm appears OK after a summer elbow injury. At times he looks very good, such as a first-quarter drive Monday when he completed 6-of-8 for 80 yards and a TD. Big question: How will he handle the atmosphere at the Q?

Tiki Barber: There's more than one talented No. 21 in this game. Barber led the NFL in yards from scrimmage (2,096) last season and he is the club's all-time leader in rushing yards (7,072), receptions (477) and total yards (13,053). He has scored in six consecutive games, one shy of his career high.

Michael Strahan: No active player has more sacks than Strahan (123), who is the 12th player since sacks became an official statistic in 1982 to reach the 120 mark. He has sacked 58 different quarterbacks but has never faced Drew Brees. He'll be matched most of the night against Shane Olivea.

Eli Manning was a Charger for about 45 minutes on April 24, 2004, when San Diego made him the No. 1 overall draft pick before trading him to the Giants. His position coach wasn't in town much longer and remains nearly as unpopular – Kevin Gilbride, who was the Chargers' head coach for 22 games (6-16) in 1997-98.

The Giants reported no new injuries in Monday's game, although kicker Jay Feely reportedly needed a cortisone shot at halftime after injuring his back forcing a fumble on the opening kickoff. Seven players were listed as questionable last week and all played except for linebacker Barrett Green (knee/ankle) and wide receiver Jamaar Taylor (groin).

One week after his 1-for-15 debacle in Kansas City, Ryan Leaf threw four interceptions in a 34-16 loss to the visiting Giants on Sept. 27, 1998. The Giants returned one of the picks for a TD and converted two others for TDs.

The Giants have won three of the last four meetings – which date back to 1986 – to take a 5-3 lead. New York has played three times at Qualcomm Stadium, losing in 1980 and winning in 1989 and 1998.

The Giants were the first NFL team to employ Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer and General Manager A.J. Smith. Schottenheimer was linebackers coach in 1975-76 and defensive coordinator in 1977. Smith was a part-time scout in 1977.

The Giants have outscored their first two opponents 69-29. One reason: They have r eached the red zone seven times and scored five touchdowns and a field goal.

"It is a short week and we have a long trip against a tough opponent. It's going to be a sense of urgency for us to get prepared for this one." – Tiki Barber, after Monday night's game