Friday, January 07, 2011

Examining the Progression of Mario Manningham

Jacksonville Jaguars Don Carey cant stop New York Giants Mario Manningham from diving into the end zone for a 26 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter at New Meadowlands Stadium in week 12 of the NFL in East Rutherford, New Jersey on November 28, 2010. The Giants defeated the Jaguars 24-20. UPI /John Angelillo

By Kyle Langan

January 6, 2011

After a rookie season in which he hardly dressed for games, wide receiver Mario Manningham burst onto the scene in his second season, recording 57 receptions for 822 yards and five touchdowns.

Mannaingham served as one of New York's top two receivers during the 2009 season alongside Steve Smith. Heading into the aforementioned 2009 season, not much was expected of Big Blue's receiving corps. After sub par performances from the passing game after losing Plaxico Burress in 2008, many believed that there was no solution to passing game's problems on the roster.

Merely two weeks into the 2009 season, it was apparent that Steve Smith and Mario Manningham had set out to prove the critics wrong. Both receivers went over 100 yards as the New York Giants ousted the Dallas Cowboys in their first game in Dallas' new digs (better known as Jerry World)

Manningham would move on from a 10 catch, 150 yard performance in Dallas to help the Giants land among the league's leaders in passing plays over 20 yards, but a number of mistakes left many wondering just how high Manningham's ceiling could be in The NFL.

In 2010, Manningham took a massive step in the right direction.

With five of New York's top seven receivers missing significant time, Manningham often found himself as the number one target for quarterback Eli Manning.

Much of the Giants' offense is predicated on option routes and a distinct trust between quarterback and receiver. This, coupled with extra attention from defensive backs, did not prevent Manningham from recording 60 receptions for 944 yards and nine touchdowns.

Perhaps most impressive, is Manningham's ability to consistently get behind defenses. He had a touchdown reception of at least 25 yards in seven games, and recently became the first NFL receiver in 35 years to have touchdown receptions of 85 yards or more in consecutive weeks.

As the Giants evaluate what they do and do not have heading into 2011, the talents of Manningham will surely be counted among the positives and figure to be a prominent part of the team's plans in 2011 (especially bearing in mind the health of Steve Smith).

It would behoove the team to try to take advantage of Manningham's skills even more in the future. He proved a lot in 2011, and he has plenty of room for improvement.

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