Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Weekly Feature Of The Week

Whither Plax

Dateline 10/9/99: Plaxico Burress has a career in a game, going off for 255 against Michigan. Flailing for any way to slow down Plaxico, Coach Carr of the Wolverines sent his All-American receiver out to defend him. To call the results "mixed" would be something of a disservice to the word,

Cover This!

as any of us can easily see in hindsight though, Carr was playing with elemental forces that really shouldn't be tampered with. Bringing Terrell into such close proximity to Burress created a vortex of stupidity so great that Nick Saban was immediately repelled from East Lansing and after three years of Bobby Williams the stupidity gradient became so great that John L. Smith was sucked there all the way from Louisville. Okay, so maybe Carr knew what he was doing after all.

But this isn't about that.

Plax? Plax is just plain dumb. Pacman ought to give him a call and drop some knowledge on him. Every self-respecting gangsta knows that you don't carry if you can afford a posse. But Plax? Well either he suffers from self-esteem issues or he missed that day in gangsta class. Or maybe the stupidity vortex never completely wore off.

But this isn't about that either.

This is about the Giants and their declining hopes for playoff success. This is about how their lack of Plax will make for a short playoff run. In a way this is The Tale Of Two Elis, the Eli with Plax and the Eli with uhhh Dominick Hixon. Regardless of some small hype he generated through a very improbably play in a very important game, Manning isn't a very good quarterback. And by 'not very good' I mean he is sort of okay. Average. Flawed like all the other average quarterbacks but you could do worse, and many teams do. Eli Manning is the porkchop of quarterbacks.

Now porkchop is a nice piece of meat, but it isn't a steak. You can't just drop a porkchop on someone and watch their eyes light up. It needs a little stuffing or rice. Maybe some saurkraut. Anything so that it isn't just porkchop. I'm not sure if Plax is stuffing or saurkraut but whichever he was a critical complement to Eli's porkchop.

Burress played in nine games this year, or maybe eight games and part of a ninth, depending on how you count things. In those games the Giants went 8-1. He missed week four, a home game in which the Giants killed Seattle, and he missed the last six weeks of the year, where New York was exposed to be a fairly average team. They went 3-3 and looked really bad in their two losses to divisional rivals, at home against Philadelphia and at Dallas. To their credit they did beat a tough Panther team at home during that stretch.

Burress wasn't having a great year by his standards, but he was still having a good year. He was on pace for about 900 yards and 8TD which is close to his standards. Regardless, it is difficult to argue with the difference in the Giant passing offense with and without Plaxico, particularly in those last six games.

In the nine games in which Plax played, Eli's statline was this:

CmpAttYdsTDIntY/ACmp %Rate

In the last six games sans Burress it was this:

CmpAttYdsTDIntY/ACmp %Rate

and ermmm ... when we add in the Seattle game he missed early in the year:

CmpAttYdsTDIntY/ACmp %Rate

ahhh ... fooey. Never mind. New York will be just fine.

edit: man, posting tables just sucks. anyone with any ideas on how to get rid of those huge gaps please clue me in


  1. I think the real difference can probably best be seen once teams really started game-planning differently than they did when Plax was in the game. Maybe AZ and Wash did in fact game plan entirely differently, but the results certainly didn't show. Manning went 47/67 for 545, 4 TDs and 1 INT in those two games.

    That leaves 59/108 for 614, 2 TD and 2 INTs over that final four game stretch. Maybe the last game doesn't count since they'd locked the first seed, but it's not like he was 1/32 for 3 yards and 2 INTs in that game...the numbers don't change much taking it out.

    The thing that I see is that game-planning the Giants without Plax is different than game-planning them with Plax, and now everyone knows it thanks to the Eagles telling the media all about it. First the Eagles did it, then they went onto every major network they could and said "Here's how we did it."

    Jacobs being dinged up certainly didn't help. Plus, it's possible Eli suddenly turns back into SuperEli like he did last post-season.

    But IMO the odds are stacked against him on that. He plays a very tough Eagles defense that locked him down five weeks ago, then [probably] plays a very tough Carolina defense that held him in check two weeks ago, then likely faces off against any of the top defenses in the AFC. If he's super-ultra-mo-mega-lucky he'll get Arizona and San Diego and a real shot to look better than his brother (two rings, I win, you lose, case closed).

    More likely than not, someone makes him look like the Eli we all knew and loved prior to last year's post-season run...

  2. Blank lines in tables:


  3. Thanks, that wasn't quite it but it put me on track. All the column headers have to be in the same row.


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