Jockbeat: Giant Reasons For Welcoming Back Plaxico
New York Giants GM Jerry Reese sounded like Yogi Berra a few days ago when he talked about the possible future of Plaxico Burress: "We're going to move forward as if he's going to be here," he told reporters. "If he's not, we'll play it both ways."
With regards to Burress, playing it both ways seems to be exactly what the Giants are doing right now. As Rich Cimini pointed out in Sunday's Daily News, "Plax's court appearance (on a felony charge of criminal possession of a weapon) isn't until late March, and if he avoids prison there's still a chance the NFL might suspend him."
The NFL draft comes up April 25 and 26 -- should the Giants try and deal Burress before the draft? But who's going to give you top value for a guy that may be in stir before the season starts? Surely the Giants are looking at the prospect of drafting a standout wide receiver -- they'd be doing that anyway to replace Armani Toomer. But do they need two new wideouts? And do they really want Eli Manning to go to camp with two guys he's never worked with before?
It might be a good idea to try to make nice with Burress and persuade the league to let bygones be bygones.
Much was made towards the end of last season about how the Giants' offense sputtered without Burress in the lineup: Big Blue averaged 28.7 points per game in the 10 games Plaxico appeared in, and 23.7 from Game 11 to the playoff loss against Philadelphia. But does anyone seriously attribute that to Burress's absence?
Plaxico caught 35 passes while he was in the lineup -- not bad, but world beating either, with just four TDs.
Domenik Hixon didn't have the best year, but his yards per catch (for 43 receptions) was 13.9 to Burress's 13.0. In truth, the Giants' decline in the last quarter of the season was as big on defense as offense: they gave up 22.2 points per game from December 7 through the playoffs and just 17.2 for the first 12 games.
Which means the Giants could use some draft help on defense, too. All the more reason to give Plax a second shot -- oops, we mean second chance.