- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Ramses Barden isn't going to plead for more playing time.
He showcased Thursday night what he can do when given a significant role in the offense, catching nine passes for 138 yards in the 36-7 win over the Panthers. Now he's just hoping to continue to find ways to help the Giants' offense moving forward.
"Obviously I would like as many opportunities as possible," Barden said Friday. "We've got a talented group. We've got an All-Pro group."
One of the question marks surrounding the Giants this season was, who would step up and fill the No. 3 wide receiver spot, formerly occupied by Mario Manningham, to complement Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. The team had candidates -- like Barden, Domenik Hixon and second-round pick Rueben Randle -- but one of them had to go out there and prove he could help the passing attack.
In his first chance at extended play, Barden perhaps answered that question. He played easily the best game of his career, getting open almost at will against a forgiving Carolina defense. He set career-highs in catches and yards, and only failed to haul in one ball on his 10 targets.
While it might be easy to talk about Barden now turning his sights on filling Manningham's shoes, the wide receiver doesn't look at it in that light. Manningham left the Giants in the offseason to sign with the 49ers and so far has seven catches for 57 yards for undefeated San Francisco.
"I don't like just saying I'm going to fill somebody's role -- Mario did some outstanding things for us the last several years and he's still missed," Barden said. "But the show must goes on and we'll talk to him when we can. We're here to work and to get back to where we were last year."
Barden credited his offensive coordinator and quarterback for helping him to his career night. Entering the game, Barden had accumulated just 15 catches for 174 yards spanning his first three years in the league since the Giants drafted him in the third round in 2009. He showed that same gratitude to his quarterback when cameras showed him hugging Eli Manning toward the conclusion of Thursday's game.
"I just wanted really to express my appreciation and gratitude for Eli’s trust and faith in me throughout the game to keep coming my way," Barden said. "I’d like to think that if he’s gonna give me a chance, I want to do my best to carry or help him achieve what he’s trying to achieve. So if we’re moving the ball down the field and he trusts me enough to throw my way, then I need to do my job and come down with it."
1dDan Graziano and Adam Caplan