ALBANY, N.Y. - While Eli Manning has a bright future and a bank account filled with money, two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner believes the job of quarterbacking the New York Giants is his.
At least for now.
“I am going to go in there and prove to them that I deserve to be the starter,” Warner said Friday after the Giants opened their first training camp under Tom Coughlin. “I think that is how any player has to approach it.”
Warner, who signed a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Giants this spring after being released by the St. Louis Rams, is in an awkward situation. He is the caretaker, the guy who is supposed to lead the offense until Manning, the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, is ready to take over.
The only drawback is that Warner, 33, feels he has a lot of football to play despite battling injuries in recent years.
The Giants, on the other hand, didn’t give Manning a $20 million signing bonus and a nearly $50 million contract on Thursday to sit the bench.
“If he is the better quarterback, he should be the one playing, plain and simple,” Warner said. “If I am not as good, I should not be the one starting. That’s the way I think you have to approach it. As a professional you have to say what is best for the New York Giants.
“Of course, I am going to believe and try to prove I am that guy,” Warner reiterated.
What Manning doesn’t have is the experience of Warner, who led the Rams to two Super Bowls appearances, including one title and an MVP award.
Warner insisted he won’t hesitate to show the ropes to Manning, the brother of Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts, last season’s co-MVP.
“I think it’s always good to have someone to push you,” Eli Manning said of Warner. “He’s going to push me. It’s a friendly competition. I’m not going to try to sabotage him in any way, do anything bad. I talked to him and we’re fine. So I’m still going to work hard and compete for the starting job.”
Eli Manning showed glimpses of both his inexperience and potential in his first workout.
Manning did not read the defense on a look-in pattern during a seven-on-seven drill halfway through the morning workout and cornerback Ray Green easily intercepted his pass.
On the other hand, Manning looked very confident both calling the plays and taking the snaps.
If there was a highlight for the rookie, it came in the closing minutes of the morning workout.
With rookie Jamaar Taylor running a go-pattern, Manning got cornerback Frank Walker to bite on a short fake and he rifled a pass down the left sideline for a long touchdown.
“It was a perfect ball,” said Taylor, a sixth-round pick who is seeing his first action since undergoing reconstructive knee surgery. “I didn’t have to break stride. He is special. He works hard. He was brought up in a family where he knows his football. He knows how to handle himself.”
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