Mario Manningham has a special place in New York Giants' history, his spectacular catch in the 2011 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots forever cementing his status with the Giants. Three years later, however, that does not mean Manningham has a place with the current Giants' football team.
Manningham signed to return to the Giants in the offseason after two less-than-stellar seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Still making his way back from a major knee injury that required surgery in 2012 and short-circuited his 2013 season Manningham is anything but a lock to make the Giants' 53-man roster.
Entering the Giants' third preseason game, which will be Saturday vs. the Indianapolis Colts, the reality is that Manningham appears to be far down the receiver depth chart. Victor Cruz, Reuben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan and Odell Beckham Jr. are clearly ahead of Manningham. Impressive youngsters Corey Washington and Marcus Harris have seen some first-team reps. Manningham? Third-team snaps. Even guys like Julian Talley and Preston Parker appear to be ahead of the 28-year-old Manningham.
Head coach Tom Coughlin certainly, and justifiably, did not offer a glowing report on Wednesday when asked about Manningham's progress.
"That is not an easy one. Some days it is better than others. I think he is growing in some confidence, but we have been at this for a while and would certainly like to see him at his very best over a period of time so we can assess what we could expect," Coughlin said. "He is working at it, he's working hard, but certainly I think there can be more."
Manningham told reporters he is "doing good" and that he is "confident in sticking my foot in the ground and going out there," but the results have not been great.
In practices I have been able to witness, Manningham's cuts have not seemed sharp and his ability to create separation from defensive backs is questionable. To make matters worse, he has been struggling to catch the ball. He dropped at least two easily catchable balls both Monday and Tuesday, more by the counts of some observers.
"I'm out just playing. Cuts are coming up and stuff, I'm just going out and taking care of what I can take care of," said Manningham, who seems keenly aware of his tenuous roster situation. "I'm just going out and playing. I'm not worrying about that. I'm just going out and controlling what I can control. I'll leave it up to the staff to make adjustments."
Manningham clearly doesn't like talking about the past, the Super Bowl included.
"It's a new season, man. It's been a new season for about two or three seasons now so I'm not really ... I remember it but I don't think about it. I'm just trying to make some more plays," he said.
Manningham, however, is going to have to turn back the clock -- and do it soon -- if he hopes to be around for a second act with the Giants.