Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Giants get pair of receivers to 1,000 yards
By Matt Ehalt
It's double grand.
For the first time in Giants history, the team has two receivers that have topped 1,000 yards in the same season. Victor Cruz had 1,150 yards on the year while Hakeem Nicks just crossed the plateau on Sunday night and now has 1,023. Cruz has set a career-high while Nicks is 30 yards from setting his new high mark.
"A lot of that credit goes to the o-Line, holding up for Eli (Manning) to deliver those passes to us and Eli doing a great job distributing the ball between different targets and we're just coming up and making plays for him," Nicks said.
The Giants are currently one of two teams in the NFL with two players that have topped 1,000 yards, as New England's pair of Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker both have as well. The Giants, though, are the only team to have two receivers with those numbers, as Gronkowski is a tight end for New England.
In having two guys with 1,000 yards, Nicks believe the playmaking ability of the team on the outside is a key reason why. The Giants are one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL this year, with the most 40-plus yards passing plays in the league.
"Eli has been comfortable, the o-line has been holding up for him," Nicks said of the vertical offense. "Without the o-line, we wouldn't have time to get those deep balls off so definitely got to give a lot of credit for holding up and Eli having time to complete the deep ball."
Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who was not aware of his receivers' accomplishments, is pleased that Manning has been finding different receivers and spreading the ball around.
"Given where we are and how we played and the way in which we attained our production offensively, I'm glad for the distribution, I'm glad for the balance," Coughlin said. "I think as you look at the number of catches, that kind of adds up for us."
Manning, whose 4,105 passing yards are an obvious reason why the team has been able to accomplish this feat, credited the hard work of the offense. Manning has seen firsthand how hard this task is for receivers as even the talented duo of Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress could not both top 1,000 in the same season.
"The offense, I think we've grown a lot and advanced our offense since those days when those two talented receivers were here," Manning said when it was mentioned that those receivers did not accomplish it. "I'm feeling comfortable and these guys are doing a great job of getting open, understanding our concepts, understanding our plays and going out there and making plays when those opportunities form."
Wide Receiver Mario Manningham, who is fourth on the team in receiving yards with 466 yards, seems to be motivated by his teammates accomplishments.
"Let's roll. Let's keep it going. Let's get more," Manningham said.