It was disturbing to read in the New York Daily News on Friday that Brandon Jacobs and Justin Tuck are openly campaigning for Plaxico Burress to come back to the New York Giants after he is released from prison on Monday, June 6th.
The fact that they both don’t think he will rejoin the Giants but instead land with the archrival Philadelphia Eagles is irrelevant. The revelation that they want him back on the team is absurd given what happened during the 2008 season and also demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the Giants current strengths and weaknesses.
Jacobs and Tuck were both on the 2008 team that was cruising at 10-1 before Plaxico Burress brought a loaded gun into a Manhattan nightclub for what he described as protection. The rest as we know is history. The gun accidentally went off in the nightclub, the Giants subsequently suspended Burress for the rest of the season and Plaxico eventually ended up going to prison for what turned out to be 20 months. Burress’ stupid and selfish act severely hurt the Giants offense for the rest of that season. The Giants passing game, at the time, leaned heavily on Burress to make big plays and draw double teams. Burress’ presence prevented defenses from loading up against the run and allowed the Giants other receivers to get open.
Without the 6’ 5” Plaxico, the Giants offense was never the same the rest of that season, especially so in a dreadful home playoff loss to the Eagles in the NFC divisional round. Why would Tuck and Jacobs would want Burress back after he likely cost them at least a second consecutive trip to the Super Bowl if not a second consecutive Super Bowl title? Shouldn’t they still resent Burress for putting himself in front of the team when the Giants were clicking on all cylinders?
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The other puzzling piece of Tuck and Jacobs statements is that the Giants don’t need Burress. I could understand forgiving Plaxico and moving forward despite his toxic actions two and a half years ago if the Giants really needed him. They don’t though. They have a potent passing game, more potent than when Burress was on the team. Hakeem Nicks is developing into an exceptional wide receiver and is likely better now than Burress ever was before he went to prison. Mario Manningham came into his own in 2010 and provides a shifty underneath option to Nicks’ downfield talents. I am not even including Steve Smith, who is one of the best possession receivers in the NFL if he can recover from a devastating knee injury that cost him most of the last half of 2010. The Giants passing attack is clearly the team’s biggest strength. If anything, the Giants need to work on running the ball consistently and getting big stops on defense in the fourth quarter. Jacobs, as a running back, and Tuck, as a defensive end, can directly affect these issues without Burress’ help.
Jacobs’ and Tuck’s statements were not well thought out and do not allow the Giants to finally put behind them a disturbing incident that still lingers over the team. Burress will fortunately likely not suit up for the Giants whenever the NFL plays football again. These statements, however, show that two leaders for the Giants are too easy to forgive an ugly and damaging incident and don’t understand what is best for their current team.
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