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What Went Right: Wide Receivers

Coming into the season many people belived that the New York Giants would be very good along the Offensive line and defensive lines, and that they were solid at Quarterback (but had over-paid their Quarterback) and that the Giants would be terrible at Wide Receiver. Hard to imagine now, but I had a friend (who knows a lot about football) bet me (we here at giantsgab.com don’t condone illegal betting) that I could choose four Giants receiving targets and there combined yardage total wouldn’t equal that of lee Evans and Terrell Owens (safe to say I dominated that)

Everyone, except me.

I even got in an argument (I use the word argument very loosely more like an exchnage of emails) over it with Ralph Vacchiano during the off-season via his Blue Screen Blog.

Basically what I said to Ralph Vacchiano was this: I know there is no Plaxico Burress or Amani Toomer on this team, but these were old wide receivers who could not create seperation and Toomer, especially dropped a lot of passes.

I said that for the first time in his career Eli would have WR who could catch the ball and rack up yards after the catch (something that Toomer or Burress did not do with great effectiveness). I said that Eli’s completion percentage would rise.

Well, lucky for me I got something right about the Giants becuase I certainly whiffed on more important things like their Record. Their Defensive line effectiveness. (Iv’e also always thought their talent on the Oline was overrated). I thought their secondary would be mint (although I thought Michael Johnson was merely an average player, I did not think he was AWFUL-and I also thought that Corey Webster would be considered a top five cornerback in the league after this season. I also swung and missed on how effective Jeff Feagles would be this year (terrible)

My round-about point is: The one thing most people did not see coming is how good these Wide Receivers would be THIS YEAR.

And do you know why they are good?

Because they rack up Yards After the Catch. And becuase they can create seperation, in other words get open. I never bought into the Eli has to have Plaxico Bail him uot by throwing the ball in the air because I always thought that Plaxico did a less than stellear job of getting wide open.

Why were the WR so good? Let’s take a look.

According to profootballfocus.com

Hakeem Nicks led the league in yards after the catch per reception with 9.2 yards after the catch every catch (through Week 16…week 17 is not up yet). He also had 424 yards after the catch, which is 8th most in the league.

Hakeem Nicks was also one of, if not THE most impressive Giants Rookie WR ever, at least during my life time. Finishing the season with 47 catches for 790 yards (16.8 yards per reception-very good) and 6 touchdowns, while playing in only 14 games and starting in only 6.

Nicks is a Monster Yards After the Catch Guy, who has big soft-hands, is tough and a blocker.

Hakeem Nicks looks like a S-T-U-D for years to come.

He’s also a gamer, we find out now that Hakeem Nicks had problems with his hands which hurt his ability to catch the ball cleanly.

Also suprising to most was the emergence of Mario Manningham.

We learned Two Things about Manningham This Season

1) He’s an Idiot. Poor route runner and in general doesn’t seem to have a high football IQ (opposite of Nicks)

2) Manningham is one of THE quickest WR in the league. His footwork while he’s running with the ball is nifty. He’s not the Fastest WR in the league, but he is extremely quick and elusive.

Manningham finished the season with 57 catches for 822 yards (14.4 a catch) 5 touchdowns (about four less than he should have had if he could run better routes) Manningham also had 270 yards after the catch this season. 28th best in the league.

Manningham progressed significantly from year one to year two and hopefully this will happen from year two to year three.

Next up for review is Domenik Hixon who did MUCH worse than I thought he would do (See I tell you when I get things right, but I’ll tell you when I get things wrong too).

I thought Hixon had a chance (and would) establish himself as one of the better number two WR in the league. I was wayyyy off.

Hixon was O.K. though for a 4th WR. Having 15 catches for 187 yards and touchdown.

Hixon too though had many of his yards after the intial catch.

Where Hixon was dissapointing was as a return man. I want to place the blame on the blocking, but who knows for sure.

Next up is the Man Steve Smith. Smith performed better than I imagined. I thought he would have a solid year like 80 catches and close to a 1,000 yards and 5 touchdowns or so.

Smith though had 107 catches (second in the league) for 1220 yards and 7 touchdowns. Which I don’t think ANYONE saw coming…even Steve Smith or Jerry Reese.

 I thought Smithw ould be solid, not Pro-Bowl caliber. (And as long as the Packers or Saints don’t make the Superbowl he will be in the Pro-Bowl).

Smith also caught 69 percent of the passes thrown in his direction 19th best in the league.

 

Next up is a man who had BIG expectations, but no little opportunity to showcase his talents…and that is Ramses Barden.

This is a guy many Giants fans are excited about becuase even if he does little on the field going up and down the field, we fans hoep that once the Giants get into Coughlin’s Green-Zone that the Giants will be able to take advantage of  the height of Barden and Boss and get some easy scores.

This is an area the Giants have struggled with the past few seasons under Gilbride (and one of the biggest reasons is nick-name is KILLdrive).

Barden was scoring 15 touchdowns in his four year career, and 36 in his past two seasons, and scoring a Touchdown in 20 Straight Games!

Barden would have played this year if the Giants weren’t so deep at WR, or if Barden could play Special Teams.

 

Derek Hagan is a young player no one talks about, but he did an admirable job filling in for David Tyree this season. And even pitched in on offense once in awhile.

Hagan is a big  young WR (he’s only 26 and is listed at 6-2) who was productive in college, but had a case of the dropsies with Miami. He has ability, but his best option for himself might be to get away from the Giants becuase he’ll be low on the depth chart for some time to come.

The Wide Receivers weren’t all Good.`

Sinorice Moss I’ll say this about Moss: he has 13 receptions the past two years and three of those were tocuhdowns.

I think he’s useless, but he is not a FA if  a new CBA, but I can’t imagine him not being released.

DROPSIES

Another year, another batch of dropped passes from the Giants Wide Receivers.

Giants players dropped 33 passes for Eli Manning (4th most in the league).

And a big culprit for that was Mario Manningham who was tied for first in dropped passes heading into the final week of the season, with 10 (according to profootballfocus.com)

Steve Smith was in the top 30 as well with 6 dropped passes.

And while Hakeem Nicks was one of the better run blocking WR in the league, Steve Smith was one of the worst (according to profootballfocus.com).

 

Summary

All in all the Giants WR was a unit that went right for the Giants this year.

This is a very young, inexperienced but talented group that hasn’t reached anywhere near it’s potential yet.

Hakeem Nicks should only continue to grow, and while I can’t imagine Smith improving on his season statistically he is what he is: a great route runner who is clutch on third downs and will continue to move the chains for Eli Manning.

If Mario Manningham could run routes like Steve Smith we’d be talking about a future Hall of Famer (his intial burst and quickness is soooo good), but Manningham, reportedly scored a 6 on the wonderlic test (I saw someone write on bleacherreport that using a formual his IQ would convert to 72-which is legally mentally retarded).

Saw Manningham might never get to that point, but he is a good athlete for sure.

And the of coruse there is the potential of mammoth Ramses Barden

as well as the benefits of time and continue work with their franchise Quarterback Eli Manning.

This is the production the WR corps had in it’s first real year together, imagine if the run game can get back to where it was and give the WR more room to operatie…this could someday very soon be the best all around and most diverse WR corps in the league


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4 Responses to “What Went Right: Wide Receivers”

  1. Michael S says:

    Sinorice moss isn’t suited for this offense. He will probably be released or traded and probably will do way than most people think. He never got his chance in NY.

  2. andrew ilnicki says:

    I love PFF.com, its awesome.

    You know the Giants stand basically in this category of WR production — every one of the Giants receivers was either average or in the green. They are the ONLY team with that kind of production.

    the only two players that were considered average were Moss, Hagan, and Barden – who only had 150 snaps between them.

    If you eliminate the bottom feeders on snap count, meaning the players that contributed the most….

    only Arizona and the NYG have all of their rotation in the green, meaning the Giants now have an elite receiving core in the NFL.

    Every other team has a stud or two, then a below average guy that brings them back down, or someone who consistently tanked into mediocrity like Chris Chambers for SD… it just so happens though that Vincent Jackson was by far the most completely productive receiver in the league and the main reason why Phil Rivers had such a great year.

    My point is this, the Giants quietly had one of the best receiving core’s in the league… a top 3 rotation believe it or not.

  3. CMH says:

    One of the things I most like about Nicks is his hustle. He’s always looking to make a downfield block or to put himself in a position to catch a tipped pass. He’s got that “alpha dog” personality to be a good # 1 guy for us.

    I really hope Mario hitches himself to Eli’s belt in the off season and learns to run better routes. He can be a dangerous weapon in this league w some more focus.

    I have alot of respect for whatSteve Smith has become despite lacking elite speed / size. We’re lucky to have him.

    Can’t wait to see Barden next year. Any reports for how he looked in practice all year?

    Hagan is solid and a good special teamer.

    Adios Sinorice. You are to the Giants what Carl Pavano was to the Yanks.

    Hixon needs to move on.

    I like our top 4 and Hagan is good as a 5. Would like to see us draft a speedy return guy Middle rounds to round out next year’s group.

  4. KevinC says:

    Nice analysis on the potential of the new recievers.

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