Debate it all you want, Eli Manning will more than likely don a yellow jacket one day. The New York Giants legend didn’t always stuff the stat sheet. Still, he enjoyed an illustrious career in East Rutherford, culminating in two Super Bowl victories.
A big reason for Manning’s lack of gaudy numbers was due to Big Blue’s philosophy. The team was readily built upon defense and the run game. With that said, when the organization decided to supply Manning with a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver — ala Plaxico Burress or Odell Beckham Jr. — the quarterback not only saw a bump in production but also wins. Over Eli’s 16-year run in East Rutherford, he won 10-plus games on five separate occasions. Only one of the seasons came without either Burress or Beckham on the roster.
Fast forward to 2021 and Manning is hopeful that the team’s newest bonafide receiving threat, wideout Kenny Golladay, can have a similar positive effect on the team’s current situation.
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Eli Manning Likens Kenny Golladay to Plaxico Burress
Even before Golladay was officially a Giant, fans have been drawing parallels between him and former Super Bowl Champion Plaxico Burress. Fans clearly aren’t alone in their assessment, as Manning envisions the big-bodied pass-catcher being to Daniel Jones what Burress was for him during their stint together.
“Yeah, I think so,” Manning told NJ Advance Media. “Having Plaxico there and getting that No. 1 receiver, that guy who is physically gifted and can get open one-on-one. Whether they decide to try to double [Golladay] or control him, it opens up Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram. The more weapons you can have on the field, it just hopefully makes life a little bit easier for Daniel and the offense.”
“I think he was a big part of our success and having some of those runs and having a guy you can depend on to be there,” Manning added. “Hopefully, Kenny can do that.”
On a roster that has readily trotted out undersized/underperforming receivers over the past few seasons, Golladay gives both the Giants and Jones the type of physical presence on the outside that they’ve been so desperately in need of.
Golladay Predicted to Post Monster Numbers in 2021
Since trading Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns in 2019, the Giants haven’t had a receiver exceed 66 receptions, 751 yards or eight touchdowns. NFL Network’s Nate Burleson expects Golladay to blow those numbers out of the water in 2020.
The Giants have a talented group of offensive skill players in Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Evan Engram. Inserting a bona fide No. 1 wide receiver into this offense will propel not only third-year quarterback Daniel Jones (in what feels like a make-or-break year) but this offense as a whole — something Big Blue desperately needs after ranking 31st in scoring and total offense in 2020. Golladay’s physical game and ability to make contested catches against any defender allows him to produce no matter the circumstances around him, and joining a hungry Giants team looking to make the leap should benefit him in return.
2021 projection: 90 receptions, 1,200 yards, 11 TDs