Eli Manning Plays Revisionist Historian

Quarterback claims losing Plax was no big deal

Just after the Giants' season ended against the Eagles in January, Eli Manning had no problem talking about the team's need for a big receiver. They'd lost just such a receiver when Plaxico Burress played pin the bullet on the wideout, and Manning didn't seem to have any problem admitting that the loss hurt the Giants.

Maybe Peyton told him that you shouldn't ever say anything that makes it seem like you're unhappy, or maybe Eli just doesn't remember what he said a few months ago, but, for whatever reason, Eli's singing a different tune now.

"They didn’t need to go and get a big wide receiver. When Plaxico was injured, the guys stepped up and put up big points. It’s not like we need to have him. We put up big points. It’s not like we weren’t playing well because of Plaxico.We just weren’t playing very good football."

Manning probably thinks he's avoiding the impression that he's not high on the receivers who are going to be catching his passes this season, but he winds up making them look bad by taking the onus of things off of Burress' absence. They had one good passing game in the five that followed Plax's discharge, and five fairly awful ones. If that wasn't because they missed Plaxico, it was either because Manning or his receivers stunk. Neither one provides much confidence for the 2009 season.

It would be better to say that what happened last season took everyone by surprise and threw the Giants off their game. Then move on to saying that the offense doesn't need Plaxico to be successful in the future because of all the fine receivers you have on the roster. It's not the most exciting statement in the world, but it's a lot more honest than trying to tell people that the Giants team that rolled over and died twice against the Eagles was putting up big points with regularity.

You can read a bit of tension in Manning's words, which makes sense. The Giants lost both of their best receivers and replaced them with a pair of rookies, which leaves Eli a bit more exposed than he has ever been as a starting quarterback. He got a pass on the post-Plaxico games last season, but no one will be so kind if the same thing happens this season.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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