The Washington Post

Barry Cofield: Eli Manning a ‘different animal’ now


(Sharon Ellman/AP)

“He’s a completely different animal right now,” said Cofield, who signed with the Redskins as a free agent 4 1/2 months ago. “He’s playing unbelievable. If he would’ve played that well last year, we may have [given] Green Bay a run for their money. He’s playing extremely well.”

Manning’s last three games have been particularly strong. He had 406 yards Nov. 28 at New Orleans, 347 on Dec. 4 vs. Green Bay and 400 in last Sunday’s win at Dallas.

“It’s a different team, just a completely different look. They’re playing differently,” Cofield said. “They have a lot of different faces in there... And it seems like Eli has matured — a couple seasons worth of maturity in one year with how well he’s playing and how well he’s playing down the stretch this year.”

The Redskins beat Manning and the Giants in Week 1. In that game, Manning threw for 268 yards, ran in one touchdown and threw one interception.

“We watched that first game,” Cofield said, “but at the same time, we’re watching these most recent games and the way they’re playing now a lot more.”

Cofield said the Giants came into the season opener with a lot of confidence. They’ll enter this Sunday’s rematch knowing that a loss will severely hurt their playoff chances.

“I think they’re focused up there. I don’t think they’re in a joking mood,” he said. “I think they’re in a serious time; I think they may have been confident going into the first game, but I know we shook that confidence by beating them the way we beat them. I think they have a lot of respect for us now, especially the way we’ve been playing the past couple weeks. We’ve been fighting, we’ve been competitive. I think they know they’ll have a fight on their hands.”

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Rick Maese is a sports features writer for The Washington Post.

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