Ever since the loss of wide receiver Plaxico Burress, us Giants fans have watched our offense’s production descend.
It is a fact that the mere presence of Burress was enough to make both Eli Manning's and Brandon Jacobs’s jobs easier. Now that he’s gone, we’re looking, discussing, speculating, criticizing, and even scouting the next No. 1 target of our QB.
However, have we even considered a scenario without one?
Okay, I know it is just stupid to say we don’t need a go-to-guy—every team needs one. My point is: Can we build an offense that won’t depend on one guy as they depended on Plax?
The most important element in that question is the word "build." I admit, hands down, that our offense cannot live without a great wideout.
Right now, we have an offense based on a power running game (and a great one at that) and play-action passing, and it all works beautifully when you have a guy who can stretch the field, but as it turns out, we do not.
So how do we fix that? How do we “build” that offense?
First, we look at our very last game against the Eagles (yes, that dreadful loss…) and pay attention to Donovan McNabb killing us with those short passes spread equally around his mostly mediocre receivers.
Then we go back to the Patriots’ 2006 season, when Tom Brady lead them to the AFC Championship with Reche Caldwell as his lead receiver. Again, short passes overcame the lack of wide receiver talent.
Is there some kind of coincidence there?
Then we take a look at Manning’s college career. He broke all those records playing with no real supporting cast. Either his receivers or linemen were mediocre.
So the answer to the question is yes, we can build an offense that doesn’t depend on one big-time receiver.
Don’t get me wrong, I want Giants general manager Jerry Reese to go get us one. I’d love to see Braylon Edwards or Anquan Boldin dressed in blue as much as you all would, but there are other options.
With some tweaks in the playbook and play calling, Manning could take advantage of some short, high-percentage passes. This would also help the running game, as defenses would be burned if they just sent eight men to the box every time.
As a result, the offense would become more dynamic. Manning makes good pre-snap decisions, and would often audible on the line with a stronger set of plays.
Changes to the overall team would be minimal, just some added ingredients to make the formula championship-bound again.