But Manning doesn't regret what he said, mostly because he's not sure what the alternative answer is.
Instant Debate: Is Eli right?
"I do (think Manning's elite), but what would you expect him to say?" Coughlin said. "He is for me."
But Manning also has battled turnover problems since entering the league in 2004. He threw a career-high 25 interceptions last season.
"What you've got to do is cut down on the mental mistakes," Manning said. "There are some that are just bad decisions; those are on me. Some are tipped that are not on me, some are tipped because they're high and I'll take (the blame) for those."
Manning threw an interception during Wednesday's practice when his ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Eight of Manning's interceptions in 2010 were tipped, and another was ripped out of the hands of ex-teammate Steve Smith.
Still, Coughlin would like to see his quarterback play smarter at times.
"Sometimes it's better to, instead of take a risk like that, throw it away," the coach said. "Sometimes it's the high balls. A little more accuracy perhaps."
Manning looks at Brady and sees a quarterback who played the best football of his career at age 33. Like Brady, Manning, 30, hopes he has prime seasons in the second phase of his career.
"I'm hoping these next seven years are my best seven," he said. "My body feels great, I feel young, my arm is alive, I have a great feel for the offense, it's the same offense I've been in. We're getting guys who have been in for a few years now and have a better understanding."