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Sullivan Talks Wide Recievers

Mike Sullivan, the Giants wide receiver coach, talked about his position when the Giants opened up their locker room: (from

On Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress: “I want to recognize and commend both Amani and Plaxico. It was wonderful to work with both of those men. I wish them the best. Amani Toomer obviously the all-time leading receiver in Giants history. Classy, consistent performer who played a key role in us winning the Super Bowl. I wish him well as he works to find a home. Of course, Plaxico and I have a very close relationship both professionally and personally. He’s going through a great deal right now and I wish the best for him and his family first and foremost to get through this and then hopefully he’ll be able to get back out on the field and be the dynamic playmaker he was.”

On Mario Manningham: “He’s really shown a tremendous work ethic, meeting with me, meeting with Sean Ryan, our offensive assistant, going over the plays, getting himself prepared, spending some extra time, so I think he’s definitely champing at the bit to get out there and show what he can do both mentally and physically.”

On the leadership lost with Burress and Toomer gone: “That’s a great question because you look at a lot of years of experience both with Amani and Plaxico who had great success. Guys can look to them and see the way they’re doing it — not just from how to run a route or catch a ball but also from a work ethic and preparation standpoint. I think it’s really going to be a challenge to a David Tyree, who’s a seasoned veteran and is now the senior member of this group. It’s an opportunity for Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith — guys that don’t have the years but have certainly played in some big games. Those are guys who were on the field and part of this team that won the world championship. That doesn’t give them the years, but it does give them an added amount of credibility because they know what it takes and they’ve seen it and been exposed to what it takes to be successful at the highest level.”

On whether Hixon will benefit from more time being a starter in practice: “I think so. I think Domenik’s performance and the things he did last fall really speak for themselves in terms of him not just stepping up and filling the void but making plays and doing some very good things. There were some injuries and things that set him back that, of course, any team at that time of the season when it becomes crunch time is going to have some guys who are slowed by injuries and he was no different. But I think for him to really have this opportunity to focus on that role and get those reps and if he can stay healthy, I think he does have great potential.”

On Smith playing inside and outside: “Steve is primarily someone who primarily has had great success inside as the slot receiver and in a sense has been kind of cast in that mold. He’s certainly one of the best in the game as an inside slot receiver. But I think when you look at some of the things he’s able to do outside — the patience in his route running, the quickness, being a very smart player and someone that has shown great commitment this off-season in trying to really get excited about that opportunity. He’s very excited about the challenge of saying, ‘Hey I can be a legitimate outside receiver. I can be a Z and not always somebody who’s inside.’ … He does have a legitimate chance to be someone we can count on, not just inside but outside as well.”

On Smith’s YAC: “That is the number and … ball security.”

On how they’ll determine which receivers will play where: “As a coach you have ideas and inclinations about where someone might best be suited — inside our outside. Between injuries or different things that occur, just trying to get the best match, trying to get the best players on the field, ultimately guys can’t just be locked into that one position. They would help themselves get more playing time and they would help our team if they could learn other positions. But that’s the challenge, that’s the tough part of the job – to be able to get these young men in a position where they may be comfortable at a certain position and be able to have some success, but all of a sudden there’s an injury or a matchup or something’s not quite right on the other side of the formation and being able to roll over. What we try to do during the spring is not pigeonhole guys per se in one of the positions. We hope during the spring and the June camp to move guys around a little bit. It might not be comfortable for them initially, but at least they get exposed and we have an idea to see where they could have the most success and be able to help us. We have ideas, but at this time of the year, we need to kind of mix it around a little bit, just to be able to come up with the best possible group that’s going to give us success.”

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