The New York Giants went back to work Monday, beginning off-season conditioning.
Ralph Vacchiano has all the best quotes from Tom Coughlin, Justin Tuck and Eli Manning over at The Blue Screen.
Go to Giants.com for some workout video and the full conference calls for Coughlin, Tuck and Manning.
- Leave it to Football Outsiders to shoot holes (pardon the pun) in the argument that the Giants' offense fell apart in 2008 due to the loss of Plaxico Burress. In a look at the biggest holes each of the NFC East teams has to fill, here is FO's take on the Giants and how much they need, or don't need, Burress.
If Domenik Hixon had caught that bomb from Eli Manning against the Eagles in Week 14, chances are that this discussion wouldn't be happening.
Hixon dropped the pass, though, that came to signify the struggles of the Giants' offense without mercurial wideout Plaxico Burress in the lineup. With the threat of Burress going over or past defensive backs nullified, teams were able to disguise their coverage, push a safety into the box, and stifle the Giants offensively.
The only problem? The Giants were actually better with Hixon as the primary "X" receiver than they were with Burress. Hixon's statistics are more impressive than Burress', both over the season as a whole and in the games where he was specifically in Burress' role (Week 5 and then Weeks 12 through 17).
New York's offense was also better with Hixon as the primary receiver than it was with Burress; in the weeks where Hixon was in charge, the team had a pass DVOA of 8.9 percent and a run DVOA of 20.2 percent; with Burress as the "X" receiver, those figures were 3.4 percent and 20.0 percent, respectively. (Football Outsiders' advanced DVOA stats are explained here.)
Is this a case where the stats lie? I think we all know that Burress' performance in 2008, when he was on the field, was generally not up to the standards we had expected. FO is a great publication, but I'm not buying any argument that tries to tell me Hixon is a better player than Burress right now.
Ahmad Bradshaw has completed his prison term and is participating in the workout program.