Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs girding for Giants QB Manning

TAMPA — Giants QB Eli Manning has been so good for so long that nearly every team has been picked apart by the youngest brother in football's first family.

That includes the Bucs. In 2012, Manning passed for 510 yards and three touchdowns, with three interceptions, in a 41-34 comeback win for New York.

At 34, Manning, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, shows no signs of slowing as he faces the Bucs again Sunday. He passed for a career-high six touchdowns in a stunning 52-49 loss at New Orleans on Sunday.

"Eli has two Super Bowl rings, start off with that," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. "It kind of tells you really all you need to know about him. He's calm. He's been through a lot as a quarterback, played at a high level for a long period of time.

"And when a team has a game like they had (against the Saints), when you have a quarterback like that, it's not like you're saying, 'Man, how did that happen?' When you have a great quarterback and you have good skill guys, it can happen at any time. Hopefully not this weekend."

Manning is benefitting from healthy WR Odell Beckham, the NFL's reigning offensive rookie of the year, who had three touchdown receptions against the Saints. Beckham's pregame warmup with his one-handed circus catches is worth the price of admission.

"I don't stick around and watch all those catches and stuff that he does pregame or whatnot, but he works hard in practice, and if he's got to go up one-handed (for a catch), that's fine," Manning said. "I'd rather him try to get two hands on the ball when possible, though."

Only six players — three on defense — remain from the 2012 game with the Giants, the teams' last, which had a controversial ending when the Bucs went after Manning as he was kneeling to kill the clock.

The Bucs already have yielded career passing days to the Titans' Marcus Mariota, the Texans' Ryan Mallett, the Jaguars' Blake Bortles and the Redskins' Kirk Cousins this season.

"(Manning) is good, man," DT Gerald McCoy said. "He's got two rings and arguably the best quarterback in history is his older brother (Peyton), and he's got more than him. Not only does he have the rings, but he was the MVP of those games. He's a road warrior, a tough guy, very smart, and he'll light you up if he gets going. So we've got a tough one ahead of us this week."

INJURY UPDATE: WR Vincent Jackson (knee), DE Jacquies Smith (ankle) and S Major Wright (hamstring) did not practice Thursday. McCoy (shoulder), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (shoulder), DE William Gholston (knee) and DT Tony McDaniel (groin) were limited.

S D.J. Swearinger injured a foot in practice and was added to the injury report as limited.

Lovie Smith said McCoy's shoulder injury has not prevented him from playing.

"He's not limited in the games. He's limited in practice, like a lot of NFL players are, especially linemen," Smith said. "On a Wednesday, on a Thursday, you need to try and get them as fresh as possible for game day.

"As far as (McCoy) being limited, (he is limited) no more than other players this time of year. No one is 100 percent, but everybody is good to go."

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