In a comment on my post Wednesday regarding Plaxico Burress, loyal reader BK0831 calls Burress "the most talented WR to play for the Giants in the last 25 years."
That comment seems to have drawn some reaction, so I went back and looked at the numbers. Not only do they prove Mr. Value Menu, er BK, right, I would go even further.
Look at the performances by Giants wide receivers going all the way back to the 1960s. You can make a case that, should Burress put up a couple more seasons equal to or better than his first two with the Giants, he could end up being the team's most dominating wide receiver since the 1960s. Homer Jones averaged more than 20 yards per catch four straight seasons from 1965-68.
Yes, that's right. He could wind up being the most dominant wide receiver in 40 years.
In an era where the pass was less prevalent than it is today, Jones never caught more than 49 balls in a season. But, he was a game-breaker who averaged 27.3 yards per catch in 1965 and 24.7 in 1967.
The Giants have not had a truly elite game-changing wide receiver since.
Earnest Gray caught 78 passes in 1983, but he was a one or two-year wonder. The Giants have had other pretty good wideouts like Lionel Manuel, Mark Ingram and Chris Calloway, but nobody with the physical ability to dominate a defensive back and change a game.
Up until now, the guy who has come the closest to being that game-breaker is Amani Toomer.
Toomer is the only Giants wide receiver to catch 70 or more passes in four consecutive seasons. He holds the team record of 82 catches in a single season.
Yet, having watched Toomer's entire 11-year career with the Giants I'd have to say I never considered him a truly elite receiver, a guy who commanded a double team and had to be game-planned for. Only three times in his career has he averaged more than 16.0 yards per catch, with his high being 16.8.
In seven seasons, Burress has averaged more than 16 yards per catch three times. He has two seasons of better than 70 catches.
He has had some brilliant moments with the Giants that make you think he has a chance to be on the Randy Moss-Terrell Owens-Chad Johnson-Marvin Harrison level as a playmaker. Yet, he still has too many moments where he looks like Tim Carter.
That frustrating inconsistency drives me, and I'm sure many other Giants fans, mad. When Burress is on his game he is as good as anybody. When he's not, he can act like a sulking, impetuous malcontent.
Burress and Jeremy Shockey lead a group of receivers that is probably the best in modern-day Giants history. With apologies to Mark Bavaro, Shockey is the best tight end the Giants have ever had.
If Toomer has anything left, and either Steve Smith or Sinorice Moss can be a reliable fourth receiver Eli Manning will have a group of receivers at his disposal as good as any in the league.
This is why Burress' willingness this off-season to, finally, come to voluntary workouts and catch passes from Eli Manning is so encouraging.
Maybe it is the first step toward Burress becoming the truly elite, game-changing wide receiver Eli needs to help him reach the top echelon of NFL quarterbacks.