Time for a Reminder: Giants' Young Receivers Are Still Learning How to Play
When I was thinking about the title to this article, I really wanted to go with “chill the F*** out, it’s a process, what did you expect, these young receivers to not make any mistakes,” but I thought the title that I chose instead would be shorter and more to the point.
What I’ve read from the last couple of days about these receivers harps on how they’ve dropped passes and don’t seem to have the opportunity to redeem and/or correct their mistakes, and that the Giants might as well throw all their hopes on rookies who haven’t proven a thing in this league.
Before I get to my thoughts and opinions from the Jets-Giants game, I wanted to mention my thoughts on why Giant fans haven’t seen much from the receivers in the first two games and how that has a lot to do with their poor performances from last Saturday.
In the first preseason game, the reason why the receivers didn’t do much was because of the defense that the Panthers were using and the blitzing that they dialed up against the Giants. Eli Manning, seeing this, audibled at the line of scrimmage to running plays. This turned out to be the right decision because Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw were able to run for big yardage and scored points.
It also didn’t help that the second string and third string offensive lines didn’t protect their quarterbacks very well, preventing them from completing any passes. Remember, the first team offense in that game only played in three series, so they didn’t have a lot of snaps to work with.
In the second preseason game against the Bears, the Giants basically ran into a bad situation. If Tom Coughlin felt like there should have been no excuses for the Giants playing bad, then he wouldn’t have mentioned multiple times how he felt that his team didn’t have enough quality practice time to prepare for the game.
It also was mentioned that Lovie Smith (Chicago’s head coach) was going to put extra time in preparing for the game because they didn’t want Jay Cutler to have another horrible outing like he did in his first preseason game. It also didn’t help that the Giants had to spend a day traveling to the Midwest (taking away from preparation).
Obviously life isn’t fair, and the Giants should have played better, but unlike the Giants who are trying to evaluate players and get some more of their playbook in, the Bears wanted to make sure that their fans didn’t give them hell because of another bad outing in their home debut.
The reason why the receivers didn’t have much in the way of production in this game was that again the offensive lines (first, second, and third string) didn’t protect their quarterbacks, thus not giving them the time to throw to their receivers. Even so, in this game there were two big plays in the form of a 25-yard reception by Steve Smith and a 55-yarder by Hakeem Nicks.
Getting to the game from last weekend, it was finally good to see the Giants able to work on their passing game in real live action. The problem was that this was their first time out, and it showed how far behind they were in terms of being prepared for the regular season. Dropped passes and overthrown balls showed how much more preparation needs to happen before the Giants hit the stretch run during the season.
What this team needs now is to continue to get opportunities in real live action to continue to working on its passing game, getting the quarterback and receivers more on the same page.
It’s been said throughout the offseason, but it seems to have been forgotten, that this issue with these receivers is going to be a process and that there are going to be mistakes and growing pains that will occur.
To be quite honest, after a day or two (after the game) I felt even more optimistic and excited about the season and what this offense can do. What I saw in the game was receivers getting off their jams, running great routes, and getting SEPARATION from their defenders.
In the offseason the No. 1 concern in my mind and many others was not if they would catch the ball, but if they would run their routes and get separation. The game against the Jets showed they definitely could do that.
I find it interesting and also kind of funny that coming into this game, just about everyone said the reason Steve Smith couldn’t play wideout was because he didn’t have the speed and was nothing more than a possession receiver. After the game, now people are saying that he can’t play on the outside because he can’t hold on to the ball.
I know he dropped the ball, but he was five yards behind the last defender, and the people that actually watch the Giants play and observe what Smith has done know that he and dropping passes are rarely, if at all, placed in the same sentence.
When it came to big games, from Smith's days at USC to the Giants' Super Bowl win, he always comes through, and I expect him to do more of the same this season as well. My thing is if you’re going to be critical of a player for one aspect of his game, don’t switch it up and find something else to nitpick on when you get proven wrong.
Another thing that I found interesting concerning Domenik Hixon in his play that night was that even though he only recorded one catch and was getting a lot of heat for the tipped pass that led to an interception (rightfully so), nothing was mentioned about Hixon actually scoring a touchdown on a fade route that was called back because of a encroachment penalty that neutralized the play from counting.
I mean, I know the play didn’t count, but it was a good catch, and I’m just surprised that nobody mentioned it.
Again, this is a process, and when plays and/or abilities such as what was seen from these two receivers are shown, great things are bound to come to this passing game and the upcoming season.
Keep an eye out on the progression of these receivers and Eli Manning’s timing with them as well. In the end, I believe these receivers will come through and make the plays necessary to of have success in the passing offense.
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