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"You name it. He's intelligent and he's got great pride," Coughlin said. "He has a burning desire to be the best that he can possibly be. He has great timing. He has the ability to understand exactly what you want to do and what the defense is doing. He'll talk to you about it and get the ball into the right receiver. He does a great job in the classroom. He does a great job representing the Giants. He has outstanding character. He has outstanding leadership. People listen to what he says."
Former Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett, who signed with the Giants in the offseason, has spent the past six months trying to get on the same page with Manning. When the quarterback is eating lunch, Bennett pulls up a chair.
In the preseason finale against the Patriots, Manning and Bennett weren't on the same page on a third-down pass. Manning threw a deep seam and Bennett cut off his pattern.
Seconds after the pass hit the ground, Manning was standing in front of Bennett discussing the play.
"It won't happen again," Bennett said.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, a former quarterback, said Manning is a major reason why the Giants have had success.
"He's an outstanding pocket passer; he can move around and make plays on the move," Garrett said. "He's a very smart player. He can make any throw that you need to make on the football field. He clearly makes his teammates better, makes his team better."
While not the buffest of players, Manning is as tough as they come. He has started the last 130 games for the Giants, a run that dates to his rookie season in 2004. He has led New York to five playoff berths and three division titles in his seven full seasons as a starter.
"We know we have to improve," Manning said. "We were 9-7 last year in the regular season and that's not good enough. We're a better team than that, and we obviously showed that throughout the playoffs. We've got to have that urgency and consistency throughout the whole season, play our best football through 16 regular-season games."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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