How much are you thinking about repeating as champions when the defense begins Wednesday night?
“Honestly, not that much,” Umenyiora said this morning on NFL Network’s NFL AM. “I’m not lying, I’m not lying. I’m serious. I’ve been in the league so long that I just know how difficult that is to do, and I know that if we start looking ahead to winning another Super Bowl – first of all, people are picking us to finish third or fourth in our division. So we’re not going to be sitting over here thinking we’re the best things in the world right now.
“We have a very tough schedule, the toughest schedule the NFL has ever seen probably. We just have to go out there and play it one game at a time. I know it’s a cliché…I know it is, but that’s really the way we have to look at things right now.”
And who better to lead them than Eli Manning?
Entering his 10th season, Umenyiora, a two-time All-Pro selection, arrived in New York a year before Manning did. So he’s seen the reigning Super Bowl MVP’s growth for nearly a decade.
“Obviously his maturity level, he just makes outstanding plays,” Umenyiora said. “And when it’s crunch time, he comes through. We believe in him. He believes in his teammates. He believes in his receivers, his offensive line, and he just goes out there and performs. He prepares at a high level. He’s just our leader, and he’s a great player and a great man.”
As for the other quarterback, Umenyiora was asked how many times they plan on getting to the Cowboys’ signal caller Tony Romo in the season opener.
“As many times as possible,” he said. “He has a very quick release. We know he’s not going to sit there and hold the ball. He’s going to try to get the ball out quick. The receivers are going to be running shorter routes. They’re going to throw quick passes and try to run the ball. But as many times as we can get back there. I think the key is getting back there and harassing him and pressuring him. Sacks are going to come. Sometimes they come, sometimes they don’t, but the key is getting pressure on him. And I think we’re going to try our best to do that.”
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