After the Eagles put the finishing touches on their 23-11 win against the Giants Sunday, many of their defensive players pointed to one big problem with the Giants offense. Without the 6'5", 232-pound Plaxico Burress creating chaos in the secondary, the Giants became a much easier team to stop. That was borne out by yesterday's loss and by the four losses in five games that brought the Giants season to a bitter end.
The Giants noticed it themselves. When all was said and done, G.M. Jerry Reese was saying the same things as the Eagles. He was also saying that Burress could find his way back into a Giant uniform next season.
"If everything goes all right, yeah," Reese told the Newark Star-Ledger when asked if Burress could return next season. "Absolutely."
If you've followed the Burress case at all, you're well aware that the decision isn't solely up to the team. He's facing felony gun charges, which could have him playing flag football in the yard and make his NFL return an impossibility. He's also going to be subject to discipline from the NFL which could impact his availability to the Giants.
Even if he clears those hurdles, though, can the Giants really bring him back? It would run counter to everything that Reese and Tom Coughlin have established during the last two years. Players that could help the team on the field but brought distraction off of it were thrown overboard, not coddled, and retreating on that could open the door to more problems down the line. From Burress, obviously, but also from other players in the future. You can't move the bar for one guy and keep it intact for the others.
That said, finding another player with Burress' impact would be very difficult. Watching Sunday's game, it wasn't hard to notice that the Giants were devoid of playmakers in the passing game. You aren't going to win with a running game alone come postseason, you need to threaten the defense down the field and, right now, the Giants can't do that.
There's no doubting that Burress is a gamechanger. The question the Giants have to answer is how many games does he change?