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Interesting article on the Giants WRs

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Interesting article on the Giants WRs

Post  Big_Pete on Sun Jun 21, 2009 4:12 pm

from http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=chadiha_jeffri&id=4274501

Big Opportunity, With A Catch: Pressure
Young Giants' receivers better be ready to replace Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer

Chadiha By Jeffri Chadiha
ESPN.com


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' wide receivers know what they'll be facing this season. There will be doubters and haters, skeptics and cynics, and people who will wait to see just how this offense functions without veteran free agents Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer.

Their replacements realize they have much to prove. They see that their development is vital to the Giants' chances of staying on top of the NFC East.

But here's the first thing the youngsters have going for them: diversity. While Burress was the top target and Toomer served as a dependable second option, this year's targets offer a variety of eager weapons for quarterback Eli Manning. They have size (Domenik Hixon and Hakeem Nicks), quickness (Steve Smith and Mario Manningham) and speed (Sinorice Moss).

Now they just need to become consistent performers when the games start counting. That's what everybody around the Giants realizes. And it's that responsibility that has provided ample motivation for these players.

"I feel like there is a big chip on our shoulders because you hear a lot of things," Moss said. "[You hear people saying,] 'They don't have Plax. They don't have Amani. So these guys may not do this.'

"We have Domenik Hixon, Steve Smith, myself, Mario Manningham. I can go down the list of guys that we have who can contribute. So as a group, we look at each other and say, 'Let's go do what we have to do to help this team.'"

Nobody is saying the Giants lack talent at the position. Of the players competing for time this offseason, four were first-day draft picks. The team selected former University of North Carolina star Nicks with the 29th overall pick in the 2009 draft. Moss (2006) and Smith (2007) were second-rounders. Manningham was taken in the third round last year. When you stockpile that many receivers, you expect to see a return on those investments sooner rather than later.

The real problem facing these receivers is mostly perception. People know what Burress did for the Giants before his off-the-field issues -- he's still dealing with charges of illegally possessing a firearm last November -- led the team to release him earlier this offseason. He's the oversized target who made life much easier for Manning. He was the team's leading receiver for three of his four seasons in New York. And when the Giants pulled that dramatic upset over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, it was Burress who caught the winning touchdown pass from Manning.

The Giants initially gave some indication that they could thrive without Burress, as they finished 12-4 despite his suspension for the final four games of last season. But then they sorely missed his playmaking ability in an upset playoff loss to Philadelphia Eagles.

Even Smith acknowledges that life was smoother when Burress was available.

"I definitely felt better when Plax was on the field with us," Smith said. "But after going through last year with some of the guys we have here, I'm pretty sure we can still make the plays when it matters."

One reason to be optimistic about the development of the Giants' receivers is timing. When Burress became a constant problem for the team last season, the Giants' coaches had to ask more of less-experienced players. Now those same coaches can spend more time focusing on how best to use the remaining receivers. Instead of primarily expecting Burress -- and Toomer -- to be reliable, they're able to see just how much they should be asking of the members of this group.

It might sound like a small difference, but the players believe it's significant.

"The time we've had to work together this offseason is basically like a head start on this year," Hixon said. "The coaches can see what we all do well and they're designing routes that work for us. Last year it was mainly about what Plaxico did well. But we're all showing what we can do now."

The biggest change in the Giants' passing game will be the absence of Burress' size. (He's 6-5 and 232 pounds.) That long, sturdy frame gave Manning far more confidence to make throws when Burress looked to be covered. Aside from Hixon (6-2, 182) and Nicks (6-1, 212), the rest of the top receivers are shorter targets. That means they'll have to thrive with disciplined routes and shifty moves to create the separation that Manning will need to complete passes.

At the moment, Smith and Hixon are the best of the bunch. Smith is the most experienced receiver on the roster, as he made some clutch receptions during the Giants' Super Bowl run and caught 57 passes while serving mainly as a third receiver last season. Hixon was the man who stepped into Burress' shoes when Burress became a headache in the fall. He caught 43 passes in seven starts but was noticeably quiet (two receptions for 37 yards) in that playoff loss to Philadelphia.

Moss actually had been the most impressive receiver during this offseason until a hamstring injury sidelined him earlier this week. The Giants also like what they've seen from Manningham, who has turned heads with his flair for the acrobatic catch. Nicks is already scoring points in the chemistry department. When the receivers were contemplating going to dinner last weekend, he quickly volunteered to treat them to steaks at Del Frisco's in Manhattan.

It's that kind of chemistry that could be the secret weapon of this group. But again, unity and potential don't mean anything unless they lead to results on Sundays.

"The big step when we go for real," said Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, "is whether they're going to continue to do the things that right now it seems like they can do."

That is a question that the Giants' receivers are looking forward to answering.

Senior writer Jeffri Chadiha covers the NFL for ESPN.com
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Re: Interesting article on the Giants WRs

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Sun Jun 21, 2009 7:30 pm

It will be interesting for sure.
You don't lose both your starting receivers without consequences. Hopefuly one thing that works to the Giants advantage is the fact that the opposing teams haven't seen a lot of tape on these newer guys that will be asked to contribute.
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Re: Interesting article on the Giants WRs

Post  Big_Pete on Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:38 am

TD wrote:It will be interesting for sure.
You don't lose both your starting receivers without consequences. Hopefuly one thing that works to the Giants advantage is the fact that the opposing teams haven't seen a lot of tape on these newer guys that will be asked to contribute.

I disagree

exactly the same things were said when Strahan, Petitgout, Tiki, Will A + Will P, Shockey etc left. but in each case the young guys we had stepped up and did the job

the guys he have can legitimately strecth the field, which should open things up alot more.

There might be some growing pains early, but our passing offense should be fine.

I think there is more pressure on Eli - is he a great QB or a good QB?

Can he make a good solid receiver corps into a dominant passing game or is he dependant on great receivers for a quality passing game?
- one of thoe QBs is worth $20m+/year, the other isn't

lets be real here, even with Shockey and Plax, the Giants passing has been solid, but hasn't been anything special.
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