Coughlin sees improvement from Eli

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –- Tom Coughlin said he saw some positive signs from Eli Manning during the Giants' 31-13 loss to the Bengals.

"I thought he threw the ball better, and many times yesterday he zinged it in there," Coughlin said Monday. "Had the ball down the seam to Victor (Cruz) that should have been a touchdown."

Manning is coming off his worst three-game stretch since the second, third and fourth starts of his rookie season. He has gone three games without a passing touchdown and threw two costly interceptions that led to two Bengals touchdowns in the third quarter.

Manning threw for 215 yards against the Bengals, the first time he has cracked 200 yards in three games.

Coughlin, Manning, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan all dismissed the notion Manning has a tired arm.

"No one is watching me practice," Manning said of anyone who thinks he has a tired arm. "I thought I had good velocity and threw the ball well yesterday."

The Giants have a bye this week, so Coughlin is giving his team off the rest of the week after they got together Monday. Manning is looking forward to getting away from football and coming back refreshed.

He said he will not watch film and will not throw a football again until next Monday.

"I think it will be good just to get the guys, after 10 weeks, a little rest," Manning said. "We've had a hectic schedule these last few weeks with a lot going on in this area (due to Hurricane Sandy).

"So I think it will be good just to get the guys to be able to relax a little bit, be around their families and get their minds off of football and then come back next week refreshed, ready to go, ready to finish this season strong."

The Giants return to a daunting schedule that includes the Packers, Redskins, Saints, Falcons, Ravens and Eagles.

They will not only need Manning to get back to his two-time Super Bowl MVP level, but the Giants need many of their players to start playing better and winning one-on-one battles if they want to snap their two-game slide.

"He's not alone," Coughlin said of Manning struggling. "We have a lot of people that aren't playing as well as they're capable of playing. That's got to change, obviously."

Coughlin admits that he did not like what he saw from Manning's two interceptions deep in the Giants' territory with a Bengals defender clutching onto him.

But he said his quarterback was simply trying to make something happen.

"That was terrible," Coughlin said. "He'd be the first one to tell you that. That was so foolish to try to make a play there. The one guy has got his shirt. ... Just go down and take care of the ball and let us have another snap. Just take care of the football.

"I know he's always trying to make a play and he has done things under those circumstances in the past that have worked out," Coughlin added. "But the percentages are just not with you when that happens."

Still, Coughlin is confident his quarterback will bust out of this funk once the break is over.

"Again, I think yesterday there were signs that he's improving," Coughlin said. "He's getting back on track. There were some signs there that were good yesterday and we've just got to build on it."