EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's been a few years since Giants quarterback Eli Manning has had a big, physical receiver to target in the passing game.
"They're both similar height," Manning said, comparing Burress and Marshall. "And just smarts on football, body control, being able to go up and get the ball. So yeah, I'd say some definite similarities there. Obviously, Plaxico, had a number of years playing with him, so I knew what he was going to do, knew how to read his body. I knew whether it was going to be a back shoulder versus a fly or a jump ball. So, we need more live reps doing that."
Manning and Marshall have been trying to expedite their chemistry to where a simple dip of the shoulder, or a nod of the head is all the other needs to exploit the opposing defense.
Thus far, the marriage has been a productive one. Manning has connected with Marshall numerous times in practice, especially in the red zone, where the two have been trying to recreate the chemistry on the fade pass that Manning and Burress made so famous.
"We're doing some good stuff, Brandon and I, getting on the same page," Manning said. "Every day there's something new that comes up though. A route here, a concept, just getting on the same timing. You can kind of talk about everything, but you've got to get in as many live reps, one-on-ones, get running different routes, getting on the same timing with things will be good."
Although Manning can hit any receiver of any height, having a big-bodied target makes his life that much easier because it helps him to find a familiar face in a forest of players scrambling around trying to get a hand on the ball.
"Those big guys, you have an opportunity to throw them open," Manning said. "They can be physical at the line of scrimmage and get some separation that way, where the quick guys make moves.
"So, Brandon does a good job finding ways to get open. Whether it's being physical with the DBs, or throwing the back shoulders, throwing the fly routes, going up and get the ball. I can always just have separation with the quick guys, but they're still getting open in a different way."
Besides making life easier for the team on the field, Marshall has been nothing short of a model citizen in the locker room, according to head coach Ben McAdoo.
"I think he's a tremendous communicator," McAdoo said. "I found that out the first time I met with him, we had a nice conversation, we sat down one-on-one and talked about what we wanted to get out of this, on both sides. He's a guy that speaks from the heart and he's a tremendous communicator and I think that's rubbing off on some guys in the room."