Sunday, January 9, 2011

Year in Review: Wide Receivers

There have been talks about the Giants bringing back Plaxico Burress, and like most Giants fans, I am against it. Even though he was talented, helped Big Blue to a Super Bowl title, there seems to be no point. Why bring back someone that was fined a countless number of times, was a hassle to deal with, and demanded more money before shooting himself? I'm a believer of second chances. If Michael Vick got one, then Burress should certainly have one. However, he just isn't a good fit here, especially with the receiving core that the Giants have. This has a chance to be the greatest the Giants have ever had.

Like I said in an earlier post, Hakeem Nicks was on pace to have the best season ever for a Giants wide receiver. If he didn't break his toe and kept his current pace, Nicks was on pace for 97 receptions, 1,295 yards and 13 touchdowns. Big Blue certainly isn't known for their wide receivers, but they soon might be especially with a young wide-out like Nicks. This season, he showed what we've been missing in all these years. To put that in perspective, he's already 27th on the all-time franchise list with 1,842 yard in two seasons. If he stays on the Giants for a long period of time and stays on the field, he should be able to pass Amani Toomer, who didn't have his 1st 1,000 yard season until his 4th season, as the Giants leading receiver.

In 2009, the Giants passing game did just fine with Steve Smith as their number one wide receiver. Nicks emerged in 2010, which made their depth that much better. Off to a solid start in 2010, Steve Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury that required surgery, and the Giants suffered on 3rd down passing because of it. Smith only played 9 games due to the aforementioned injury and was on pace for 940 yards and 5 TD. There is nothing wrong with that for a 2nd wide receiver. While he doesn't have the skillset of Nicks or Manningham, he certainly has the best hands and instincts of all the team's receivers.

Speaking of Manningham, what a season he had as the Giants 2nd/3rd wide receiver. Take your pick who should be the #1, him or Nicks. Super Mario Manningham certainly proved that he has the skills to play as the go-to guy in the last 3 games. Even though Nicks played two of the last three games and scored 2 touchdowns, he was not at 100%, which made Manningham Manning's primary target. In the last 3 games, Mario had 16 receptions for 346 and 5 TD.

This season, the Giants had a skilled group of wide receivers that enabled Eli Manning to have his 2nd straight 4,000-yard season. However, there were between 7-12 balls that were deflected off receivers and into the defense for interceptions. That and injuries lowered the grade a bit, but this might be the best wide receiving core the Giants have ever had, and it would be difficult to find a better, young set of receivers in the National Football League.

Grade: B

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