No regrets for Manning on Brady comparison

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No regrets for Manning on Brady comparison

FOXBORO -- He had to know it was coming.

When Eli Manning was scheduled for a conference call with New England media, he must have expected a question about this summer's quarterback comments. You remember -- the Brady stuff.

"The question was if I thought I was an elite quarterback and basically I was just saying that I did," Manning said Wednesday. "I'm usually not in to the business of ranking and rating quarterbacks, or comparing myself to the other guys, but I just . . . Looking back, I thought I gave an honest answer and I don't regret anything."

Why should he? In Manning's August interview on the Michael Kay Show, he was effusively complimentary of Brady. The point was, New England's quarterback has only gotten better since he won three Super Bowls and Manning thinks he has the same potential. Hardly scandalous.

But Manning grouping himself with elite QB's inspired a frenzy of indignation. Yes, he beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Yes, that performance earned him MVP honors. Yes, his current 102.1 passer rating is the best of his career. But, Brady? Many football writers and fans scoffed at the idea.

Manning didn't listen.

"I just didn't worry about it," he said. "It caught a lot of attention. After doing the interview, you kind of think back to see if you said anything that might cause attention. I didn't think that would be a big deal. I think there were circumstances where not a whole lot was going on in sports at the time, just some training camps and no games yet. So I think sometimes it's just depending on the timing of things that they have to have something to talk about in the sports world."

Fair point.

And a smart strategy. Want to make a statement? Do it on the field. Manning ignored those trying to put a ceiling on his ambition and look at him now: The NFL's No. 3 passer rating, a career-best 64.7-percent completion rate, and better control on interceptions (just five so far). He's not better than Brady, but he's not trying to crowd in on the same pedestal. Manning wants his own pedestal on the same level.

It's only natural.

"I think, as any player in the league, you always feel confident in your ability. Whether you just played a great game or you just played a poor game, you feel the next week you're going to go out and play great and make every throw and win games -- put your team in situations to win games. So I think that's the attitude that most athletes have."

Figuratively, he can put his money where his mouth is Sunday at Gillette. Brady versus Manning. Shootout starts at 4:15.

McDaniels: 'Wouldn't surprise me' if Belichick coached into his 70s

McDaniels: 'Wouldn't surprise me' if Belichick coached into his 70s

When will Bill Belichick retire? The Patriots coach is 64 years old, and he's been on record saying that he won't be coaching into his 70s like former Bills head coach Marv Levy. But it sure seems like Belichick has plenty of energy to stay at the job for some time, and the results, you may have noticed, have been pretty good. 

MORE FROM McDANIELS: 'Don't know' who'll play quarterback Sunday

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels joined WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show on Monday morning, and he was asked about how much longer his boss might work. Would McDaniels be surprised if Belichick coached into his 70s despite what he said on NFL Network's A Football Life documentary back in 2009?

"It wouldn't surprise me," McDaniels said. "I know Bill loves football. His drive and his passion for the game and to try to do everything we can to prepare our team to win each week, I haven't seen one change in it. It's a great privilege to coach for him. He certainly kind of sets the tone for us. I don't see any difference in that since when I first started here. I look forward to coaching for him for as long as he'll let me."

Some have speculated that McDaniels could be the next head coach of the Patriots whenever Belichick decides to hang up his whistle. The 40-year-old has been up for head coaching positions since he's returned for his second stint in New England, but he's still with the organization that gave him his first NFL job in 2001. 

McDaniels, who left to be the head coach of the Broncos in 2009 and 2010, was asked if he values the offensive coordinator job with the Patriots more than a head coaching opportunity that might not be the perfect fit.

"I love where I'm at," McDaniels said. "I've said before I think we all have aspirations to grow and get better and improve and potentially move up and what have you. Who knows? Maybe that day happens, maybe it doesn't. But I know this: I'm really thankful to have the opprtunity that I have to coach the players we have here and to work underneath Bill and Robert [Kraft] and the Kraft family. It's a privilege here. I feel like I have one of the best jobs in the world. Just thankful that I have an opportunity to come here and do it each week."

McDaniels: Don't know who'll play QB for Patriots against Bills

McDaniels: Don't know who'll play QB for Patriots against Bills

The two quarterbacks on the Patriots roster are both dealing with injuries at the moment, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels says he's not sure which will be starting against the Bills on Sunday.

"I don't know that," he told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show on Monday morning. "I haven't seen them in a few days. Hopefully all those guys are continuing to get better. We'll see them tomorrow. Hopefully they're all ready to go. That would be the goal. That would be the hope . . . But as of right now I don't know that."

Garoppolo's shoulder injury, suffered against the Dolphins in Week 2, was significant enough to keep him out of Thursday night's win over the Texans. In his place, rookie third-rounder Jacoby Brissett got the start, but he injured his thumb during the game. He played through the injury, which Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran has reported is "minor."

Asked if receiver Julian Edelman would be the next in line if both of those players were unavailable, McDaniels explained that the Patriots may have used a variety of looks had they been in that kind of emergency situation.

"We have to have somebody ready to go," McDaniels said. "Julian's certainly been in that position before. There's always a couple other things you can do. There's a lot of schemes that are available to people if that situation were to ever come up , , , It might not have been one thing. It might've been multiple different things that we try at that point. We had more than one guy that was ready to go if that situation came up."

Bills coach Rex Ryan said on Sunday that he didn't care who was playing behind center for the Patriots, even if it was coach Bill Belichick. The Bills would be coming after him.

"I have a lot of respect for Rex," McDaniels said. "What he says is usually the truth. They'll blitz. They'll bring a lot of packages each week to try to disrupt the quarterback, whichever team he's playing . . . He always keeps you on your toes, makes it difficult."