Tom Coughlin Criticizes Eli Manning
The New York football Giants didn’t have the type of success that they expected last season. Some people blame the coach and others blame the players. And some, as always, blame Eli: Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw a staggering 25 interceptions and was sacked 16 times on the season.
Coach Tom Coughlin cites Manning’s flaw as something that most coaches would consider a plus. “He tries so hard to make a play, on every play, that he just won’t go down when the play’s not there,” Coughlin said. Coughlin went on further to credit Mannings work ethic and determination: “He wants to be that type of hero. The guy works so hard. We don’t have many sacks, he’s a big part of that. He doesn’t let it happen, but sometimes in doing that you put the ball in a precarious circumstance.”
While Coughlin has a legitimate point, Manning’s heroics aren’t the problem. The problem for Eli is the lack of a Plaxico Burress-type receiver on the roster. During his time with Eli and the Giants — cut short by the now-infamous 2008 incident where the receiver accidentally shot himself with an unregistered firearm, landing him in prison for two years — Burress gave his team a deep threat on every play. Lets not forget that along with Plax’s speed he was 6’7. This height advantage came in handy very often against defensive backs rarely taller than 6’1. On a variety of plays Eli could throw the pass up for grabs and be confident in a 75% chance that Burress would make the catch. While defenders focused their attention on containing Burress in double coverage, the Giants’ scheme opened up opportunities for the other receivers to make grabs and for running back Brandon Jacobs to pound the ball on a distracted defense. Without Plaxico, New York has had to put its faith in a more average-sized group of receivers.
This isn’t to discredit the Giants wide receiving core (the Hakeem Nicks-Steve Smith-Mario Manningham tandem is actually a very good one), but more a comment on the Giants’ situation. Big Blue’s problem isn’t Eli’s decision making, it’s the lack of a big primetime receiver. In 2008 when the Giants had Plax, Manning only threw 10 interceptions on the season while being sacked 27 times. Statistically there has been a vast improvement in his ability to avoid sacks but there is a significant difference in his accuracy without Burress. Quite frankly, the Football Giants need a big wide receiver. ASAP!
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