“Basically, we like it this way," he said. "It’s nice having it where (people are saying) it can’t be done, we don’t have enough playmakers, we’re not old enough, we’re not big enough. ... It couldn’t be set up any better way where we can just focus on the things that are important, and that’s becoming better route runners, catching the football, learning our assignments, and going out and executing them. I’m confident, I think that group is confident, and we’re excited to see where it takes us.”
As one can see by Mike Sullivan’s (New York Giants’ wide receiver coach) statement, having a group of young, unproven receivers is actually a good thing. Giants fans have been so worried coming up with solutions for the wide receiver corps that few people even stopped to think about this.
The fact that these players (Smith, Hixon, Moss, Manningham, Nicks, Barden and Tyree) need to show what they are made of is the best thing that could happen to the Giants’ offense.
For starters, let’s just look into another statement of Coach Sullivan: “They’re competing with each other, they all want to be the guy, they all see what’s in front of them as far as a chance that, legitimately, this is a wide-open competition.”
There it is. Our receivers are hungry! This is the missing ingredient. The expression “wide open-competition” defines the face of this group of players. It is needless to say that there is a huge upside in this receiving group, and the most important aspect for their development right now is the fact that these guys have been given a chance to compete, to show the coaching staff, and ultimately the entire Giant Nation, that they are playmakers.
When we take a look at the previous years, there have always been a stable group of receivers on the Giants roster, or at least the starters were the same. This provided stability and the possibility not to put any pressure on our rookies. However this stability also caused them to get too relaxed.
Imagine yourself in the following situation: You are a wide receiver just drafted to a playoff caliber team, and in training camp, you see that the starting wideouts are “only” the all-time leading receiver in the franchise and a 6'5" monster who forces defenses to game plan separately against him.
Somehow you just don’t see yourself getting a lot of reps, do you? To complete things, you look sideways to your fellow younger receivers and you don’t see a lot of depth, meaning: at least your job is secure.
But then, all of a sudden, in six months time, you see both of your team’s starters leave and the club drafting two rookies with the first and third round picks. Well, I bet you’d think: “Two reasons for me to work harder: 1) I could actually start this season! And 2) Darn, if I don’t give a 120 percent effort this off-season I may actually loose my job!”
The presence of these players in the offense provides the Giants a great chance to mold this group into a threat. Not just to produce one guy among all of them, but to get every player involved in the offense, keeping defenses guessing just by the variety of receivers utilized in different packages.
And for all doubters of the actual talent of these young receivers, their capacity of actually gaining from this competition and thriving, you have no idea of what the power of hunger is capable of.
And I assure you, they are pretty hungry…