Excerpt: "The Giants tried the play no less than four times against the Packers last Sunday night.
The fade route between Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks has been one of their go-to calls, taking advantage of Nicks’ physical playing style and one-on-one match-ups in the end zone.
But none of those attempts were completed for a touchdown. One was tipped by the defense, and another may have been a bit out of reach, but offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride used the missed chances as examples of how Nicks — try as he might — is still not at full strength.
“Still not the same. Not himself, no,” Gilbride said. “He had a couple chances for plays. He would have made those plays easily (if healthy). Easily.”
Nicks has fought through left knee and right foot injuries that have nagged him all season, missing three games and playing the other eight at less than 100 percent. Each of the past few weeks, the fourth-year receiver has said he feels the best he has felt all season, but Gilbride chuckled knowingly.
“Doesn’t he tell you that every week?” Gilbride asked. “Is he convincing you, himself or the opposition?”
But Gilbride appreciates that about Nicks. He has the highest respect for his player’s toughness and his will to be on the field when still hurting.
“You love the fact that he’s trying,” Gilbride said. “He’s fighting his rear end (off). He refused to accept being hurt, and he knows we’re better when he’s out there, and he’s trying to do everything he can. I admire that and everything else, but he’s not the same guy yet as he was, there’s no question about that.”
Those missed fade routes underscored that. The first incompletion was the most glaring to Gilbride, because the ball hit Nicks right in the hands.
In Gilbride’s view, Nicks right now is not used to catching the ball while being jostled — a product of missing most of the spring and summer after fracturing a bone in his foot and really only seeing live action in regular-season games. The knee injury developed in his only 100-yard receiving game of the season, against Tampa Bay in Week 2." Read more...