With lots of “restructuring” (as the New York Giants are calling it) happening so far among the coaching staff, one such shift is perhaps being understated. Re-assigned assistant coach Sean Ryan is now coaching the wide receivers. Again. He used to coach this position from 2010-2012, forming a bond with that corps before being moved to quarterbacks coach (after 2012 when Mike Sullivan left). He’s back where he seemed comfortable. Could this benefit the once-feared skill position? We think so.
Although he started out with the team (in 2007) as offensive quality control coach, in 2010 he was named wide receivers coach for the team and helped the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI with the likes of wide receivers Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham under his wing/tutelage.
Said Giants’ wide receivers were quite, umm, productive in those two seasons under Ryan. Remember that in 2011, his unit helped the New York Giants (and quarterback Eli Manning) set some franchise records: 359 completions and 4,734 net passing yards, two receivers with 1,000-yard seasons (Cruz and Nicks).
Victor Cruz had 82 receptions for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns. Those 82 receptions tied Giants former receiver Amani Toomer (2002) for what was then second place on the Giants’ single-season list, but number 80’s 1,536 yards broke Toomer’s former team record — by 193 yards.
Hakeem Nicks caught 76 passes for his career-high 1,192 yards and 7 touchdowns. Mario Manningham had 39 catches for 523 yards and 4 touchdowns, but will more than likely be remembered that season for his 38-yard in-bounds sideline reception in the fourth quarter of that second Giants’ Super Bowl victory over New England.
These wide receivers played impressively in 2010, Ryan’s first season at this position. Number 88, in his second season with them, led the receivers with 79 receptions for 1,052 yards and 11 touchdowns — and he didn’t play a full season. Those 11 touchdowns tied Del Shofner (third-highest total in Giants history). Manningham had 60 catches for 944 yards, nine TD and one rush for two yards. He and Nicks became the first receiver duo with at least nine touchdown catches since 1967 — when Homer Jones (franchise record 13 TDs) and Aaron Thomas (nine TDs) had the record. Manningham also caught two of the nine longest pass plays in history of the Giants then: Eli Manning touchdown passes of 85 and 92 yards.
2012 stats dropped for the corps, except Victor Cruz, who had 86 catches for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns. Eli Manning didn’t break 4,000 yards (3,948). Nicks, Domenik Hixon, Rueben Randle and Barden all had less than 700 yards. We won’t discuss 2013.
While receiver Ramses Barden has moved on, 2013 end-of-season breakout player Jerrel Jernigan has been with Ryan since his original time at the position coach in 2010. These little familiarities should absolutely help this skill position rather than hinder it. The upcoming season and a new offensive system shall tell us.
Side/interesting fact on Ryan’s “playing years” — he played defense, not offense. He was a defensive back and an outside linebacker at Hamilton College.
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