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Giants vs. Patriots: Defending Mario Manningham's Comments on Julian Edelman

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 15:  Mario Manningham #82 of the New York Giants celebrates with his teammates Victor Cruz #80 and  Hakeem Nicks #88 after catching a four yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers during their NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Chris TrapassoAnalyst IFebruary 1, 2012

During an interview with the Boston Herald last week, New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham took somewhat of a shot at New England Patriots wide receiver and defensive back Julian Edelman in regards to their Super Bowl XLVI matchup. 

It wasn't the biggest bash in the history of pre-Super Bowl smack talk, but it definitely wasn't a ringing endorsement of Edelman's abilities as a cornerback. 

Manningham was quoted saying the following:

“I hope he’s out there when we play them, I don’t want to sound like that, but you know what I mean. To our advantage, I hope he’s out there. It’s a different stage,” Manningham said. “This ain’t regular season. That ain’t your real position, so we’re going to try to expose you. It’s all or nothing now. That ain’t your position, this is the Super Bowl and we want you to play that position."

Yesterday, amid the annual early-February circus that is Super Bowl Media Day, Manningham tried to clarify his comments, saying:

“It’s not like that. I respect him as a player, I understand that he’s a good player, he plays wide receiver and defensive back. I don’t take anything from him but he plays offense. So I know he’s a competitive player, but I’m going to try to win. No matter who lines up in front of me, I’m going to try to win.”

The typical fake praise after a previous quote was taken in a negative light. But then, stunningly, Manningham wasn't finished. When asked about "exposing" Edelman, he said the following to Media Day reporters:

"It’s not just me, but us as a receiving corps, we know he’s a great player, but we want to go out and do what we have to do to win. No matter what it takes. He plays wide receiver. He’s not a real defensive back. Did he get drafted as a defensive back? We have a little bond going on knowing that we can beat somebody. We’re confident. I hope he’s out there." 

The Michigan grad was asked if he thinks Edelman can cover him and responded back, "Do you think he can?"

A solid round of smack talk, wouldn't you say? 

I see nothing wrong with this and as a guy who writes about football, I wish more of this would occur, especially before a game as hyped as the Super Bowl. How many times can we stand hearing how tremendous an opponent is, when we all know he's the precise guy a team is looking to take advantage of?

It's a tired cliche for sports writers, but it's a cliche for a reason. Everyone thinks the same thing about those politically correct, mundane answers.

They're boring and they're usually false.

Manningham wasn't blasting Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, or Wes Welker. He made a statement that the Giants receivers are going to look to expose Julian Edelman.

The truth.

There's nothing wrong with being confident. In fact, if that's Manningham's personality and if it motivates him knowing he should be able to "expose" Edelman (and he should) then so be it. 

He didn't question the guy's manhood or idiotically call Brady a loser.

Because we're talking about the third target on the Giants and a nickel corner on the Patriots, this won't get a ton of publicity leading up to the Super Bowl, but I'm glad Manningham came out and said it.

Now he's got to back it up. 

 

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