Excerpt: "The pass traveled nearly 50 yards in the air. Hakeem Nicks had done what used to be routine for him, but this year has been significant when it happens: Burst past two defenders, finding himself atop the entire defense, with just the Georgia Dome turf between him and the end zone.
The fourth-year Giants receiver admits he could have dove for the ball. But he had a bigger gain in mind.
"I wanted to run into the end zone; I didnít want to just make a catch," Nicks said, his eyes lighting up. "I wanted to score, so thatís why I tried to run out for it. Just off by a hair."
The pass wound up just beyond Nicksí fingertips, falling incomplete, one of many missed opportunities in the Giantsí 34-0 loss to the Falcons last week ó a setback that makes Sundayís game at Baltimore essentially a must-win, to keep their playoff hopes viable. For Nicks, it was also a missed opportunity on an individual level.
Hobbled all season with right-foot and left-knee injuries, to the point that he walks around the locker room with a labored gait after each time he practices, Nicks less often looks for these big plays. In fact, despite earning a reputation as an explosive playmaker, the former first-round pick admits his approach to the game has changed this season due to his injuries.
"I tried to change my style up a little bit, to more of a possession receiver," Nicks said. "Just moving the ball and moving the chains, because I really ainít got my explosiveness, the way I have had it in the past. That changed a little bit, me just trying to keep the ball, keep us on the field, be consistent in my routes and be there for (quarterback) Eli (Manning) when he does look my way."
Itís an interesting tactic. Nicks generally plays the "X" receiver position ó though he moves around on some plays, in part a trick that can help injured players avoid the jam from defenders ó the spot considered a teamís No. 1 receiver.
Possession receivers are usually players without special speed, but who are reliable, with good hands, and can be counted on to convert for first downs. They often play out of the slot, and they usually arenít considered an offenseís top threat." Read more...