A New Dawn Has Set in For The New York Giants Passing Game

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A New Dawn Has Set in For The New York Giants Passing Game
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Plaxico Burress. Amani Toomer. Jeremy Shockey. Tiki Barber.

All were at a reasonable age to maintain top performance when Eli Manning was in the process of completing his first season as a starter in 2005. Each presented distinct match-up nightmares for the opposing defenses. And all of them were integral in the New York Giants grand plan or surrounding Eli Manning with weapons as long as he boasts a New York Giants uniform.

None of them remain.

The only wide receiver that has been along for every second of Manning's wild ride with the Giants is David Tyree.

And the only bond between the two is that Tyree caught Manning's first career touchdown pass to a wide receiver, and a certain 32-yard catch that will be linked with Super Bowl greatness until the end of time.

Presumably, Tyree will be given the pink slip by the end of August and the overhaul will be complete. No more can Eli lean on targets that had established themselves when Eli arrived in 2004.

Now everything is flipped upside down. Come Sept. 13, Eli's primary targets will likely be Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, and Sinorice Moss.

The average age of the projected opening day receiving corps?

Roughly 24 years young.

Additionally, the combined career receptions amongst the six is only 11 more than the combined age.

On a veteran team that is built for immediate success, these exact statistics have been the culprit for all the skepticism lent to the Giants passing game.

However, there's always a semblance of hope in an otherwise bleak situation. The lack of a distinguished veteran receiver may mean that Eli can't rely on solely one or two targets as he did with Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer.

But it does mean that this group will grow together. They will learn from their mistakes together. They will enter the prime of their careers together.

And on the heels of granting Eli Manning the largest sum of money for any quarterback in the NFL, Giants brass should be consoled that there appears to be a plethora of young talent dispersed through the wide receiver depth chart.

Of course, it's natural for pessimism to creep in given the lack of experience. Many have stated that given Jerry Reese's willingness to expend multiple draft picks for receivers that have had success on the NFL level, he isn't confident with the players currently on the roster.

Conversely, this argument can be repudiated by stating that Reese didn't pull the trigger on a trade that likely would have cost a first and a third round pick, which were converted into Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden.

Speed bumps should be expected.

Drops and mis-communications are going to become a natural occurrence in the grueling six months to come. However, so will the explosive yards-after-catch plays that were non-existent when Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress were Manning's primary targets.

Patience will be mandatory if the Giants want to achieve their ultimate goal of playing a game in February. If the offense is able to persevere through the inevitable growing pains, then the offense will be more dangerous then ever late in the season, and will have stability for many years to come.

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