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Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Coughlin praises Eli's mental toughness

By Matt Ehalt

To Giants coach Tom Coughlin, it's the resiliency of Giants quarterback Eli Manning that had the coach singing his quarterback's praises the day after a 37-34 win over Dallas.

Before leading his team on two scoring drives to complete the comeback win, it had been Manning who threw a costly interception on a tipped ball while in Dallas territory that led to a touchdown and a 12-point lead for the Cowboys at the time.

Yet, Manning never let it faze him, leading his team to a quick touchdown before pioneering the final game-winning drive that sent the Giants in first place in the NFC East and put them in control of their playoff destiny.

"Eli comes to the sideline. He's very disappointed but he puts it in its place and the next time we get the ball he goes right out there and rallies the troops -- makes some incredible throws to the sideline, under pressure, all night long," Coughlin said on a conference call Monday.

Coughlin seemed to indicate that he believes the mental fortitude Manning demonstrated Sunday night is a microcosm for his quarterback's entire season. After coming into the year with many questions surrounding his game following a 25-interception season, Manning has rebounded with the best campaign of his career. He has career highs in yards and passer rating and is on pace to throw for more than 5,000 yards.

"It's just his mental toughness," Coughlin said when asked what has Manning done that continues to amaze him. "He comes over, he's not happy. A lot of times he's not happy. Something has taken place and he wants to control everything and sometimes there's things you can't control. He'll come to the sideline and be disappointed and upset but he'll get his nose right in the book and look at all of the pictures and see and discuss with Kevin (Gilbride) what has to be done, what could have been done differently and what do you see, what do I see, what's everybody see? Then he goes back out there and just directs traffic on the field and the response on the part of his teammates is obvious."

Coughlin also complimented his quarterback for his effort to eliminate turnovers this year and his accuracy. He recalled several plays from Sunday night's game when the Giants quarterback moved in and out of the pocket, trying to make a play, before eventually tossing the ball away. Those are the types of plays that may have led to turnovers last season.

"That is a real, real positive step for a quarterback to be able to recognize that you've pushed a bunch of buttons and nothing seems to answer anything for you and before you get yourself into trouble and lose yardage, throw the ball away," Coughlin said. "That is something that I think I have noticed."