The Giants receiving group had a pretty good year, despite being plagued with injuries. Eli passed for 4,000 yards which was fifth best in the NFL, and a credit to his WR’s. The injuries all started over the summer when backup wr/starting returner Domenik Hixon tore his acl and was out for the season. Even though he wasn’t a starter, he was an experienced back-up on offense which the Giants could have used when other starters got hurt. Hopefully he’ll be back to 100% and be there backing up, and running back kickoffs.
What killed the Giants and Eli greatly this year was the loss of all star receiver Steve Smith. Every dam time I saw Eli throw the ball to a patch of green grass and make a dumb face at his receiver cutting the other way, I thought of Smith. I wasn’t sure if it was Eli’s fault or the wr’s, but I know that didn’t happen as much when Smith was playing. Smith and Eli were always on the same page, and rarely ever had miscommunications. Smiths an excellent route runner and a smart wr, and was greatly missed on those third downs this season. Hopefully he’ll stay healthy next year, and get back to being the most reliable third down receiver in the league.
Hakeem Nicks had a monster year for the Giants with over 1000 receiving yards and 11 TD’s. The TD machine proved to be a go to target for Eli, with Smith out for most of the year. All the comebacks Eli threw to him, as well as the fades in the endzone worked like a charm this year. Definitely great to see him have this break out season. He’s going to being catching a ton of TD’s for the Gmen in the years to come.
Someone who hasn’t gotten enough credit this season is Mario Manningham. He stepped up big in a lot of third and longs this season. He had 9 touchdowns and just 56 yards shy of 1000 receiving yards this season. I’d like to see more screens thrown to him, and possibly reverses, but we all know Gilbride runs a pretty boring vanilla offense.
Despite sitting on his couch, and sipping on coronas for half the season Hagan did a great job when he was called back to the BigBlue. He quickly picked up the offense and did a good job stepping up due to the injuries. I think he still had suspect hands, which he needs to work on in the offseason. I don’t think they’ll let him go again, but you never know.
Of course the most pressing question regarding the Wr’s this offseason is will Plaxico Burress be returning to NY when he’s let out of jail June, 6th. Is it really worth it with all of the off the field problems he has caused the Giants since he has been here? I say go for it. If a guy can kill dogs, or drive drunk and kill someone and still play in the NFL, why can’t Plaxico come back to the Giants when all he did was shoot himself in the leg? Now granted, Plaxico will not be a starting wr with Nicks who has basically taken his spot as the big target for Eli, but again depth is important, and adding Burress with Nicks, Smith, and Manningham is dangerous. Many of his team members feel as though he should be allowed to come back especially Jacobs, who remains a close friend to Plaxico.
It’s not one of the Giants more pressing concerns, but it’d be nice for them to add some more depth at the receiver position. Don’t forget about Victor Cruz who had a great preseason but got hurt and was out for the year and Ramses Barden who’s a huge target at 6’6 225lbs. Look for these guys to add depth this coming season. Overall the Giants have a great young group of receivers who I’m anxious to see tearing up secondarys throughout the years.