When a wide-open Steve Smith dropped a long potential touchdown pass from Eli Manning on Saturday night, it finally became clear why Giants general manager Jerry Reese passed on a trade for Braylon Edwards. One of the reasons cited for the Giants' lack of interest in pulling the trigger on a trade for the Browns wide receiver was Edwards' poor hands. Reese drafted most of the current Giants receivers, so it makes sense that he'd take some pride in watching them grow up to be pass droppers.
His choice not to go out and find a receiver that can catch the ball, on the other hand, may come back to haunt him. Every one of the presumed top four Giants receivers dropped passes against the Jets. Smith's was the most flagrant, a reminder of the ball Domenik Hixon dropped against the Eagles late last season, but each one raised the doubt level about the Giants offense to a new level.
It wasn't just the drops. Mario Manningham appears to be either an indifferent route-runner or badly out of sync with Manning. If Hixon didn't join the drop parade, it would have been easy to forget that he was on the field at all which isn't a good sign for a starting receiver. Hakeem Nicks is earning praise from all corners for catching two touchdowns against Jet defensive backs who will only beseeing the field during practices or emergencies.
That's how desperate the situation looks right now, because the Giants haven't had one of their receivers do anything to create confidence that he'll help their offense this season. Manning will need the help, because he's used to Plaxico Burress making bad passes look good. There were a few more passes on Saturday night that Plax would have turned into great catches, another dimension gone from the Giants offense this season.
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Will Tom Coughlin risk Manning's health in the final preseason game in an attempt to develop something more positive in the passing game? For 10 or 15 snaps in the first quarter, it might not be a bad idea because the Giants offense doesn't look any healthier just because Manning is.