NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS: Eli and Plaxico Burress Flourished Together. But Eli's Struggles Were Never Due To Plaxico's Absence from The Team.
The fact that Coach Tom Coughlin and Plaxico Burress didn't get along all that well is not new. We knew that while Plax was still here and getting fined on a weekly basis. And now that Plaxico Burress has completed his judge ordered time-out from Football, all speculation as to what team he'll wind up with have begun in earnest.
As a Giants fan, would I welcome him back? Sure. But I don't think he'd be our best receiver anymore. I don't think we have a terrible need at receiver that we should go in hot pursuit of Plax. We have talent there. The Club has said they're open minded to whatever makes the team better. But if Coach Coughlin has a say, he'll most likely wind up playing somewhere else. And good luck to him.
Here's the part of the Plaxico Burress discussion that compelled me to jump in with my two cents today. Many are saying Eli Manning has never been better than when he and Plax joined forces. They point to that 2007 Super Bowl and the way Eli and Plax dominated the Packers in the Championship Game.
That's fair; very fair.
Arguments making a direct correlation between Plaxico's ability to haul-in less than stellar passes from Eli because of his height; then his absence from the team; followed by Eli's dramatic spike in interceptions have been attempted and have many in the Media and fans convinced of it.
I'll agree with that observation only to a point; and to a limited point at that.
Chris Palmer was hired to be the New York Giants Quarterback Coach in January of 2007. He and Tom Coughlin worked together in Jacksonville. And I believe he more than Plaxico, was highly instrumental in Eli's surge in improvement during that Super Bowl season.
Due to not having Plax on the roster, Jerry Reese quickly rebuilt the wide receiver corps. But last season, although the unit as a whole remained remained effective, they suffered through the season in a state of constant injury. Coincidentally, prior to last season, in January of 2010, Chris Palmer retired from the Giants three years after being hired.
It was later reported Chris Palmer left the Giants in a contract dispute over clauses allowing him to interview for Offensive Coordinator positions in the League. So, he left the Giants to pursue other career paths. The Giants promoted their Wide Recievers' Coach; Mike Sullivan to the position of Quarterbacks Coach as a result. And Eli's troubles began.
Not having Plaxico Burress around was a small to minimal part of Eli's problems last season.