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NY Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham trying to find the route to success

Mr. P

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Eli Manning threw a perfect pass: over Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins’ outstretched hand, toward the sideline and just in front of the pylon. It should have been a touchdown.


And it would have been a touchdown if Mario Manningham hadn’t been out of bounds.


The Giants’ second-year wide receiver got past Jenkins to the outside on a deep fade pattern. But instead of pushing his route away from the sideline, Manningham trotted alongside the white paint and eventually onto it, denying the Giants a chance at six points.


"I just got too wide," Manningham said.


Manningham has made the mistake several times, including once on a failed third down against the Cardinals.


"It’s an area that he has to get better," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said this week. "We talk to him all of the time. He’s got great speed, but you can’t just run six inches from the sidelines."


With 46 catches and four touchdowns through 11 games, Manningham has been an integral part of the Giants’ passing attack this season. His speed and quickness have helped him become a downfield threat for Manning.


But last year’s third-round pick remains a bit raw in certain areas that need fine-tuning, and running his routes too close to the sideline is one them.


"The coaches tell him to stay in a straight line," fellow starting wide receiver Steve Smith said, "and don’t fade away from the ball."


Smith is an outstanding route runner. When the Giants’ quarterbacks talk about how reliable he is, they’re referring to how he’s consistently in the correct spot.


When it comes to deep passes on the outside, Smith is able to get past the cornerback and then push his route back toward the middle of the field, giving Manning a much bigger window in which to throw his pass. A perfect example was when he ran past Falcons cornerback Chris Houston and got back "on top" of Houston (meaning in front of him instead of to his outside) for a career-long 51-yard catch.


On that same day, Manningham had his second-best game of the season with 126 yards on 10 catches.


But ...…


"A lot of them were dangerously close to the sidelines," Gilbride said, adding: "It really makes it challenging for the QB."


Gilbride and wide receivers coach Mike Sullivan continue to work with Manningham on the issue. There are several ways to solve it: tighter alignments at the line of scrimmage, inside releases, better moves to beat press coverage and provide more room with which to run patterns and remembering what Manningham called "the imaginary red line" without having to look down at the actual white line.


"You definitely don’t want to drift," Smith said. "And a good corner will drift right with you."


At that point, Manningham makes it tougher on Manning and himself.


"Sometimes he does a great job. But it is the inconsistency," Gilbride said. "He’s made as many big plays for us as anybody, and we want to keep giving him that chance to do it. But when he doesn’t win, (running too close to the sideline) is usually the reason he didn’t win."


Notes: S Michael Johnson (groin) was limited in practice for a second straight day and is listed as questionable. Johnson said he expects to start and get his full slate of snaps. If he doesn’t start, indications are Aaron Ross, not C.C. Brown, would take his place. Either way, the speedy Ross will get plenty of time against the Eagles’ pass-heavy attack.


G Chris Snee (knee) is also listed as questionable, though he’s expected to play after practicing the past two days. RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot/ankles), QB Eli Manning (foot) and TE Travis Beckum (groin) are probable. ... The Eagles will be without RB Brian Westbrook (concussion), as expected. WRs Jeremy Maclin (foot) and Kevin Curtis (knee) are questionable, but Maclin is expected to play.

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Smith is an outstanding route runner. When the Giants’ quarterbacks talk about how reliable he is, they’re referring to how he’s consistently in the correct spot.

That's good to know. Now I know who to yell at when a pass is way off kilter. :05-mafia:

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