When Plaxico Burress' status with the New York Giants was hanging in limbo, quarterback Eli Manning stepped up and expressed his desire to see him return. And following his release, Manning then became a strong advocate of Big Blue landing Cleveland Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
Was Manning trying to tell the Giants something? Does he feel like he needs a tall wide receiver to act as a security blanket? Either way, with only a few days remaining until organized team activities, Manning is now singing a different tune.
"I feel confident. They didn't need to go and get a big wide receiver. When Plaxico was injured, the guys stepped up and put up big points. It's not like we need to have him. We put up big points. It's not like we weren't playing well because of Plaxico. We just weren't playing very good football," Manning said.
The results without Burress are actually quite a mixed bag. The team went 4-3 (week 12 game with Arizona included) and averaged nearly 26 points per game, but they clearly struggled in various areas during his absence. However, some of those issues may have been drastically overblown.
The general consensus is that Big Blue struggled in the run game without Burress drawing the double team. And I, myself, have been guilty of saying the same thing. But when you actually look at the numbers, the Giants averaged the same or more yard per carry than their seasonal average of 4.3 in three of those seven games, and rushed for 4.2 yards per carry in week 15 against Dallas.
Unfortunately, that number may not be enough for some fans. They'll claim the Giants should be near that average in at least six of those seven games. But in comparison, even during their worst Plax-less rushing performances, they averaged a higher yard-per-carry than more than half the league.
Read more: Giants' Eli Manning: We Don't Need Plax