By Zack Cimini
Two Steve Smith’s at the same position and not much separating them to rate one higher than the other. Rankings happen for a reason and one of the Smith’s has to be the top dog. A year ago this was not even a question. Carolina’s Smith had been a top ten receiver for several years. While the Giants, Smith, had struggled to find his niche ever since the Giants drafted him. Playing behind long time Giants veteran Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress must have paid off in some fashion. Smith is the Giants clear cut receiver leader and he has fought off young talented receivers Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham in the process.
The first area we are going to analyze is both teams offensive balance. It’s no secret that Carolina has the best tandem of backs in the NFL. Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams have proven and shown that they can and will carry the Panthers with a minimum thirty combined carries a game. Even though Matt Moore is taking over that will not halt Carolina’s plans. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the carries per game claw up an extra six to eight a game.
Another glaring area with Carolina is they’ve lacked a legitamate second receiver behind Steve Smith for years. Take a second and think of who has played behind Smith……the Jeopardy five second buzzer has just sounded. Mushin Muhammed was a suitable possession receiver for a long time but not fantasy reliable. Carolina has never truly had a receiver you could draft besides Smith. Were sad to say but Dwayne Jarrett’s an absolute bust. Going into 2010 with Jarrett opposite Smith is only going to make things harder for Smith.
Age and Smith’s injuries the past few seasons have to raise some concerns. He is still a strong top fifteen receiver but we have him behind the Giants Smith.
The Giants style of offense has went more to the air. Partly because the running game has struggled since Tiki Barber departed. Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward had a decent year together but 09’ saw that Jacobs will always need help. Another down year from him and he’ll likely be replaced via the draft or free agency.
A quarterback just doesn’t go from averaging between 3,200 and 3,300 yards three straight years and jump to over 4,000 yards. New York is officially an air attack team and Manning’s favorite target is Steve Smith. The cast of the Giants receivers does overshadow Carolina’s making it difficult to spread the ball to all, but were going to say take the Giants Smith over Carolina’s.