Coughlin: No doubt Eli's the man

Tom Coughlin never even considered giving Kurt Warner any snaps as Eli Manning was struggling mightily through three of his first four halves as the Giants starting quarterback.

The coach made it clear that while Manning's promotion three weeks ago didn't provide the lift he had hoped for, he gave no thought to replacing Manning at any point since the rookie took the reins.

Asked if he believes Manning gives the Giants the best chance to win, Coughlin said, "Yes, I feel that way. And I still feel like we needed to make the change to get a spark going. We haven't seen that and we haven't seen the production, but I still think it's the right move."

In Manning's 23 offensive possessions during his first two starts, the Giants scored one touchdown, kicked three field goals, punted 11 times (one of which was blocked), threw four interceptions, lost the ball twice on downs and twice when the second-quarter clock expired.

In five trips inside the green zone (the opponent's 20-yard line) behind Manning, New York scored 16 of a possible 35 points.

"We're not doing too much on offense," said wide receiver Amani Toomer, who still had not scored this season. "We're not very productive. And I can't really explain to you why. There are a lot of things that earlier in the year we were getting done, and now it seems like we're not putting together a consistent drive."

"Early in the year we weren't scoring in the red zone and we found a way to do it and put points on the board at a pretty consistent clip," running back Tiki Barber said. "All of a sudden, we're back to where we started, at the bottom of that roller coaster. It's frustrating. We have to find ways to correct it. We have to keep pushing and keep fighting."

That's exactly what Manning intends to do. Although he threw two costly interceptions - including one in the end zone - and was sacked five times against the Eagles, he said he has faith that he can lead a Giants revival in the last four games.

"My confidence is fine," Manning said. "I know I've struggled the last two games and made some mistakes. I've also made some good plays. I have to concentrate on what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong and fix the mistakes that I've made and get better and more accurate with the ball and make plays when they're there.

"I'm not frustrated. I'm disappointed in my play. I know I need to play better, but I'm not going to get down on myself. I have to stay positive, continue to work hard, prepare as much as I can, have a good week of practice and go out and play well."

Manning has the full support of his teammates, including Warner, who has done all he can to help the rookie who took his job.

"You have to fight through these things as a team," Warner said. "You have to fight through these things with your leader. And Eli is that guy. You see how he leads in those situations and you come together as a unit. (You say), 'This is our guy. We're going to go to battle with him, week in and week out, no matter what the situation is.' Then everybody has to rally around that. That's why this (quarterback) position is unique and it's special. It's my philosophy that's what you do with the position. You pick your horse and you run with it. That's what you have to do, especially with a young guy as they're working through those things.

"I think it's important to pick your leader, let guys rally around him, let guys learn how to play with him, let them as a quarterback fight through, play through, learn how to play the position in those situations and in the long run that's what's going to pay the greatest dividend. That's what's going to allow this team and this organization to be the best it can be, is to have that guy and to run with him. And we all know that guy is Eli. He's going to be that guy. He's going to be the horse this organization runs with for a long time. It's not always going to be pretty."

It certainly hasn't been the last month or so. But the Giants are still in the thick of the NFC playoff race. However, after going oh-for-November, their focus heading to Washington was simply on winning a game.

And it's up to Manning to lead the way.

"We're right in the (playoff hunt)," Manning said. "We have to go out and get a winning streak going. I have to start playing better and put this team in a position to win games. We're making some big plays and we're making mistakes. A lot of that is on me. I'm turning the ball over. I've got to put the team in a better situation to score points to win the game.

"This game is harder than it looks sometimes. I know what it takes and what I'm going to have to do to get better."

Eli says…

Manning on frustration level: "No, I'm not frustrated. Obviously I'm disappointed in my play. I know I need to play better, but I'm not going to get down on myself."

Manning on forcing the issue: "I don't think so. I think to be successful in this game you have to want it, you have to be determined and you have to work hard to do it, so I'm just going to try to play the game and let the game come to me and try to make good decisions. Don't turn the ball over and just try to find the open guy and get him the ball."

Manning on teammates' support: "Yeah, my teammates have been great. They just say keep your head up and keep working hard, and my teammates have been great to me through everything all season so I think they'll stay that way."

Manning on confidence level: "My confidence is fine. I know I struggled the past few games and made some mistakes and I've also made some good plays, so I have to concentrate on what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong and fix the mistakes that I'm making and just get better, get more accurate with the ball and make plays when they're there."

Manning on deep balls: "Yeah, I think that's a good sign and something that we can work on. If we can get some shots and keep hitting some of those deep shots, our offense will be in good shape. We just have to work on the short routes and just find completions when we're not going deep."

Manning on WR struggles: "Obviously I have to get the receivers the ball. I have to start finding completions and moving the ball down the field and putting some points on the board. It's my job to try to find a way to get the athletes and the skill players the ball and that's just spreading the ball out and getting it into their hands so they can make plays."

Manning on Shaun O'Hara's return to the lineup: "I think Shaun is a big help because he is experienced and knows defenses. He's watched a lot of film and has a good feel for what the team does and making calls quickly and us being on the same page so we can talk about things outside of practice and the meeting rooms where we can get on the same page with everything. So it'll be a help having him back."

Manning on his morale after two starts: "I'm fine. I know it's a long process and I have to grow up quick and start playing better football. I'm still working hard and going out every day and I'm excited about this weekend. I'm excited about getting another week of practice and getting more comfortable with everything and looking to go out and have a good weekend."

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