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SUNDAY NIGHT SPOTLIGHT Eli Manning takes it easy

October 25, 2009|Sam Farmer

Growing up in the Manning household, youngest brother Eli got the nickname "Easy E" for his relaxed, almost sleepy disposition.

The New York Giants need that don't-sweat-it perspective against Arizona tonight as they aim to bounce back from last Sunday's 48-27 loss at New Orleans.

"You can learn a lot from one game, but you can't freak out," Manning told reporters after that defeat. "You can't start getting nervous and having doubts. That's football."

But that's not typical Giants football. The 48 points the Saints scored on them were the most against the franchise since 1999 when they fell to Washington, 50-21.

There's a good chance Manning will throw a lot tonight against a Cardinals defense vulnerable to air attacks. The Cardinals are ranked No. 1 against the run, but mostly because teams have had so much success throwing against them. Arizona is 31st against the pass, giving up an average of 265.2 yards passing a game.

The Giants have their own problems in that department, particularly with their injury-depleted secondary.

Arizona's offense has gotten rolling lately, with the Cardinals scoring 28 and 27 the last two weeks.

To prepare for the Kurt Warner-to-Larry Fitzgerald deep routes they might see tonight, the Giants had backup quarterback David Carr heave long ball after long ball to rookie receiver Ramses Barden at practice.

"Coach [Tom] Coughlin said, 'Just put it up. Give them the chance, and see if they can make a play on it,' " Carr said.

While the heat will be on New York's defense to keep the Cardinals in check, Manning will look to get the team back to where it was when it tore off a 5-0 start.

Linebacker Danny Clark compared it to hitting the refresh button on an Internet browser. That sounds simple enough, but the mood wasn't carefree around Giants practice during the week.

"You're never supposed to be excited about losing," Clark told Newsday. "We despise it."

-- Sam Farmer

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