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RoanokeFan
05-30-2012, 09:27 PM
NICKS' INJURY YIELDS MORE OPPORTUNITY (http://espn.go.com/new-york/nfl/story/_/id/7989862/new-york-giants-wideouts-getting-more-reps-hakeem-nicks-absence)

"With Hakeem Nicks' surgically repaired broken toe elevated and resting in a
cast, Domenik Hixon (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/9716/domenik-hixon) moved up to the first team
and got some valuable reps with Eli Manning (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/5526/eli-manning).


Hixon, attempting his second comeback from a torn ACL injury in as many
years, caught some nice passes in the Giants' voluntary organized team
activities on Wednesday. And so began life without Nicks for the next couple of
months.
</p>

If there is one positive to come from Nicks' injury, it is that the Giants
will get a closer look at the receivers behind him and Victor Cruz (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/13553/victor-cruz). By the time Nicks returns,
perhaps in mid-August, the Giants will have a better idea about what they may
have in Hixon, Ramses Barden (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/12555/ramses-barden), Jerrel Jernigan (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/14040/jerrel-jernigan) and second-round pick Rueben Randle (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/14911/rueben-randle).</p>


"Losing Hakeem is obviously terrible but as long as he is ready to go by the
season, that is what is important," wide receivers coach Kevin M. Gilbride said.
"Moving forward, it is not a bad situation to have. We know what type of player
Hakeem is. We need to find out about some other guys."</p>


"The book is still open on all of these guys."</p>


As the younger Gilbride points out, the Giants know exactly what they have
with Nicks. And the hope is that Nicks should be ready by the season opener.</p>


"I don't think so," Manning said, when asked if the team should be concerned
about losing Nicks for the next few months. "We will have time. He knows what he
is doing. It won't take long for us to get back on the same page."</p>

Getting on the same page with a new third receiver is going to be more
difficult.</p>


Last year, Manning had to find someone to replace Steve Smith (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/3748/steve-smith) in a matter of weeks before the
season started. Cruz emerged in Week 3 against Philadelphia. </p>


This year, he has an entire offseason to find Mario Manningham (http://espn.go.com/nfl/player/_/id/11329/mario-manningham)'s replacement. </p>


Hixon is making his way back from two knee surgeries and understands the
expectations surrounding him are low. But Giants coach Tom Coughlin raved about
Hixon for being one of his most dependable players. </p>


"I don't think people are looking at me at all, to be honest with you," Hixon
said. "Just kind of flying under the radar, which is fine with me." </p>


Coughlin, though, is going to be cautious with Hixon's knee. While the Giants
know what the consistency Hixon brings to the table when healthy, they are less
certain about Barden and Jernigan. </p>


The 6-foot-6 Barden has tantalizing size and solid hands but has been slowed
by injuries throughout his career. The 2009 third-round pick understands this is
his chance to show the Giants what he can do.</p>


Barden has displayed glimpses of what he can do, but only has 15 receptions
for 174 yards in a total of 17 games. The Giants have been waiting for Barden to
emerge. </p>


"That would be great if he did," Coughlin said when asked about Barden. "It
has been a little bit of inconsistency. Some days are very, very good and others
are not as good. Hopefully it will all catch up with Ramses this spring and this
fall."</p>


Barden knows this is a make-or-break season for him in all likelihood.</p>


"Contract-wise and where I have been in my career kind of dealing with
injuries and some obstacles, it is definitely a big year," Barden said. "Play
like I have nothing to lose."</p>


Jernigan, last year's third-round pick, is trying to get a grasp of the
offense and the playbook with the benefit of finally having an offseason
training program with the team. Last year, the rookies were deprived of valuable
coaching and practice time due to the lockout. </p>


"Right now he has a ways to go to get himself back in," offensive coordinator
Kevin Gilbride said. "I am waiting. You see it, it is there. There is some
quickness and some speed and an ability level that you want to see show up on
the field in a consistent way."</p>


"I know, within the next few days, we got to get it out of him because he is
one of the guys that has to play for us," Gilbride added. "He has got to come
through. Last year Victor had to come through. JJ has to be one of those guys
for us this year."</p>


If not Jernigan, perhaps it could be Randle, the second-round pick out of
LSU. The learning curve is greater for Randle than the others as he adjusts to
the pro game. But already, Coughlin sees the talent in Randle. </p>


"Naturally, he has got some things to learn about intensity, studying and
preparing, and you can't come out here and make an error," Coughlin said. "He
has only had a few days out here on the field. But all you have to do really is
watch him catch punts and you know he is talented."</p>


The most talented receiver on the field on Wednesday also assumed a bit of a
leadership role with Nicks out. Cruz was seen providing guidance for many of the
younger undrafted receivers on the roster. Just a year ago, he was in their
shoes, fighting to prove himself. </p>


Now, he's the shining example of all that is possible for the receivers on
the roster hoping to become Manning's newest weapon. With Nicks recovering, the
Giants will get a closer look at what they have on the roster.</p>


"We have got a lot of talented guys, it is time to get them going," Coughlin
said. "Perhaps there is another Victor Cruz in here."</p>

MikeIsaGiant
05-31-2012, 10:27 AM
I'm not worried about the 3rd receiver at all, and it's kind of obvious why.


We have depth at the WR spot, and Manning/Gilbride always gets them open.

I'm pretty confident we will not mourn over Manningham as quick as people may think

RoanokeFan
05-31-2012, 11:17 AM
I'm not worried about the 3rd receiver at all, and it's kind of obvious why.


We have depth at the WR spot, and Manning/Gilbride always gets them open.

I'm pretty confident we will not mourn over Manningham as quick as people may think

I don't think "worry" is the word. With Nicks and Cruz on the field, the # 3 has to be reliable, have good hands, and be where he is expected to be as he's going to get a lot of passes thrown to him

miked1958
05-31-2012, 01:04 PM
i think that even if no clear winner of the 3rd spot emerges from camp we will still be okay. if they platoon hixon, RR, JJ they should get ample production out of that 3rd WR spot...</P>


He will also have an arsenal of TEs to throw to in Bennett, Robinson, Hopkins, Pascoe and later maybe even Ballard and Beckum.. He also has options out of the backfield to throw to with AB, Wilson, Joe M, Hynoski and maybe even Scott. </P>


I think we will be fine till Nicks gets back</P>

RoanokeFan
05-31-2012, 01:08 PM
i think that even if no clear winner of the 3rd spot emerges from camp we will still be okay. if they platoon hixon, RR, JJ they should get ample production out of that 3rd WR spot...</p>


He will also have an arsenal of TEs to throw to in Bennett, Robinson, Hopkins, Pascoe and later maybe even Ballard and Beckum.. He also has options out of the backfield to throw to with AB, Wilson, Joe M, Hynoski and maybe even Scott. </p>


I think we will be fine till Nicks gets back</p>

You're right, tight end could be a key for us this season in both the running and passing games.