It's been a rough three days for New York Giants wide receiver Ramses Barden.
First he received much of the blame for the Giants' loss against the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday night due to the offensive pass interference penalty he committed that turned a makeable game-winning 44-yard field goal into a 54-yard attempt that was out of Lawrence Tynes' range.
Then it was revealed on Wednesday that Barden suffered a concussion Sunday night, likely during the Giants' ill-fated final drive. His status for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns is up in the air.
Despite these setbacks Barden deserves a chance to be an important part of the Giants' offense the next time he suits up for a game. To be fair, I wasn't the biggest fan of the fourth-year wideout just a few weeks ago. His play, however, over the last two games has made me a believer.
Before I get into how Barden can be an asset for the Giants let's re-evaluate the offensive pass interference penalty that supposedly was his fault.
If you take a look at the play again there is a decent chance that Nnamdi Asomugha intercepts the pass if Barden doesn't interfere with him. In a strange way the penalty may have saved the game for the Giants, not helped them lose it, if Tynes makes the 54-yard field goal.
Barden also drew two pass interference penalties on that drive that all but got the Giants into field-goal range in the first place and had a gorgeous diving 31-yard reception which kick-started the previous offensive possession that resulted in a touchdown.
Overall, Barden had a strong game against the Eagles and was spectacular in his breakout performance versus the Carolina Panthers the week before. He has good hands, isn't afraid to go over the middle and effectively uses his 6'6" frame to gain an advantage over most cornerbacks.
If the Giants' receiving corps is at full strength you can't make a case for Barden to play over Hakeem Nicks or Victor Cruz. His recent play, though, earns him the right to split time with Domenik Hixon at the third wide receiver spot.
He should also be utilized more in the red zone, where the Giants have largely struggled this season.
In his four-year college career at Cal Poly, Barden had a whopping 50 receiving touchdowns, including 36 combined in his junior and senior seasons.
Now I understand that Cal Poly doesn't exactly face the toughest competition year-in and year-out, but it is still hard to ignore that type of consistent ability to reach paydirt. Back-shoulder throws, fade patterns in single coverage and routes that allow Barden to screen off his defender would all work well in red-zone situations.
Barden drew comparisons to Plaxico Burress when he was selected in the third round of the 2009 NFL draft by the Giants. While he certainly hasn't achieved what Burress did in his career (and still could since he isn't officially retired), there is no denying he has a similar skill set to the former Giant.
It's not everyday that a 6'6" receiver with ability falls into your lap, and the Giants need to continue to reap the benefits of that as they have done the last two games.
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