Who Has Eli Manning's Back?

Avi GreenbergContributor IMay 19, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 16:  Kevin Boss #89 of the New York Giants celebrates his touchdown catch with teammates Sinorice Moss and Rich Seubert against the Washington Redskins at Giants Stadium on December 16, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The New York Giants are a team in the midst of that 3-4 year window where they can compete for a Super Bowl. It is a common football cliche, describing a team that has all the pieces in place to have a strong regular season, and the potential to advance in the playoffs. It is not necessarily the most accurate common denominator in deciding or predicting who will actually win or reach the Super Bowl, but rather a way to categorize a team that will be in the hunt for the near future.

It can be said that a team such as the Giants, who have a strong defensive unit coupled with a great running attack and cohesive offensive line, have the necessary pieces to win late in the season.

The question is and has been can Eli deliver and not throw the game away when it matters most. Even more specifically can he find chemistry with his young inexperienced corps of receivers. For the first time in his career he will be throwing passes to players with less tenure, and potentially players with more humility.

Not having Plaxico Burress was already a foregone conclusion. In fact it may be addition by subtraction with all of the negativity surrounding his self shooting. Not that losing a talent such as Burress can be seen as a positive. If Eli and the offense have been able to overcome the loss of Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey in successive years, why can't they win without Plaxico. 

Oh by the way they also lost Amani Toomer who was the all time leading receiver.

The man who some thought was Eli's security valve, the guy who would make a catch in tight coverage and always keep two feet in bounds. Throughout his career, and especially in the Giants playoff run two years ago, Toomer showed his worth and value to the offense.  

Who is going to pick up the lost production, who will see more passes go their way now, will Sinorice Moss and Mario Manningham see the field? Can the Giants get production from their new draft picks?

Steve Smith seems to be an appropriate successor to Toomer, both have excellent hands and are able to find holes in coverage to keep the offense on the field. Having Steve Smith will help Eli convert third downs and keep drives alive.

For the first time in Eli's career he will participate in OTA's with all of his weapons. There will be no training in South Beach for Sinorice Moss, Kevin Boss will not show up at camp and choose not to participate. Steve Smith is already working with Eli as is the rest of the offense. Will we find a true number 1 target for Eli this year? Does it even matter?

 Tom Brady won Superbowls with Deion Branch as his top receiver. Were the Giants considered to be in their window the year they won the Super Bowl? No they came together at the right time and their Defensive Line carried them to victory and Eli made the plays he had to make by throwing to however was open. That is what Giant's fans have to remember this year, we do not need a Pro Bowl Wide Receiver, in fact when was the last one we had a receiver in the Pro Bowl?

If the Giants have three guys pick up the slack for Plaxico (Hakeem Nicks, Domenik Hixon, and Sinorice Moss) and Steve Smith can replace Toomer. The Giants can sustain a high level of play on offense through running the ball and play action pass. This year if Eli can limit mistakes and find confidence with multiple guys, the Giants should be representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.