PHOENIX - The Giants may not have made the kind of free-agency splash that they made last season, but they have spent the last few days positively glowing about the addition of Brandon Marshall. To them, the addition of the 6-4 receiver is a big deal.
A really, really big deal.
"There are a lot of advantages to having a bigger receiver on the outside," Giants coach Ben McAdoo said on Tuesday afternoon at the NFL Owners Meetings at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. "You can throw it up, especially with someone like Brandon with his strength and his catch radius. He almost didn't fit through my doorway when he came into the building. He's a big man. He's like a tight end body out there. He's a big, strong man."
When the Giants looked at their offense after last season they determined that that, exactly, was their primary need - even moreso than fixing the offensive line. Eli Manning had some of his best years throwing to the 6-5 Plaxico Burress and the 6-3 Amani Toomer. Though he's had some terrific receivers to throw to since then - Odell Beckham, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, to name a few -- he really hasn't played with a receiver that size to play with since then.
That could be a huge help, not only in drawing defensive attention away from Beckham, but especially in the red zone where the Giants have desperately needed a big receiver for years.
"I look forward to getting Brandon out there and seeing what he brings to the table when you get everybody together," McAdoo said. "But he's a big target. He's a big target that's played a lot of football and has been very productive. A confident player. It's always good to add that chunk of confidence to the offense and to the locker room. It's good. And he's a big target for Eli. That'll help Eli."
It should also help the young receivers in the locker room, who sure seem to need some veteran guidance after their controversial pre-playoff boat trip last season. Marshall has been hailed as a leader and good locker room presence, including by the Giants' owners. But McAdoo wanted to make it clear that Marshall wasn't brought here for his leadership skills.
The Giants value him as an important player, first.
"We didn't sign him to be a leader," McAdoo said. "We signed him to be a football player for us. And one thing I ask the guys when they first come in, 'Just be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.' It'll take form."