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Thursday, December 15, 2011
Gilbride brushes off Cofield's Eli comment

By Matt Ehalt

Kevin Gilbride acted more like a defensive coordinator on Thursday.

After hearing former Giants defensive tackle Barry Cofield's back-handed compliment to Eli Manning -- that he thinks the Giants may have given Green Bay a run for their money last season had Manning played last year like he's playing this year -- Gilbride defended his quarterback.

"I find it a little bit amusing that those comments are being made by other people," Gilbride said on Thursday.

While Cofield certainly complimented Manning, his words can be perceived as a dig at Manning for his 25-interception season last year. The Giants finished 10-6 last season, just missing out on the playoffs, and Manning led the league in turnovers.

"He’s a completely different animal right now,” Cofield said on Thursday, according to The Washington Post. “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.”

To Gilbride, there is too much attention on those interceptions from last year and not enough focus on the entire body of work from Manning last season.

"As I said other times and I'll say it again, the interceptions were obviously high last year and they were very difficult, but other than that, it's his best year and you can't separate the two," Gilbride said. "Well, you say it was not a good year, it wasn't a good year in that respect, but in terms of pass percentage, yards per attempts, touchdown passes, yardage, it was outstanding."

The Giants offensive coordinator went on to applaud the work of those around Manning for helping him elevate his game this year.

"I think it's been incremental improvement over the years. There's no question right now this year is special and it's him, but the line's doing a good job and as battered as they are what Pat Flaherty has been able to with those guys up front has been amazing and the receivers have been terrific," Gilbride said. "I think Eli has continued to improve but as always, in order for him to do his job, those other guys have to up theirs and I think they're doing it very well."

Manning has thrown for 4,105 yards and 25 touchdowns with 12 interceptions this season. Last year, he tossed for 4,002 yards and a career-high 31 touchdowns and 25 interceptions.