Is Hakeem Nicks fully healthy? Are his past injuries finally taking their toll? Will he ever return to his 2011 form?
The questions continue to mount for the New York Giants wide receiver. Nicks’ lack of production has been a mystery this season because he is supposedly playing with a clean bill of health. However, through seven games, the five-year receiver has been anything but spectacular.
On Monday night, against a below-average Minnesota Vikings secondary, Nicks caught just two passes for 28 yards. He can’t point to quarterback Eli Manning, either, because Nicks was targeted on ten passes. Three of the passes were drops, including a touchdown. Although the drop in the end zone was a tough play, it seems like a ball Nicks would’ve hauled in a couple of years ago.
Monday night’s frustrations can hardly be brushed off as an isolated incident. Nicks has caught five or more passes in just two games this season, and he is still yet to find the end zone. Meanwhile, wide receivers Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle have each caught four touchdowns on the year.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect in all of this is that Nicks has showed sporadic glimpses of his old explosive self. In Week 1 he compiled 114 yards against the Cowboys. After that, Nicks didn’t hit the century mark until four games later against the Eagles when he caught nine passes for 142 yards.
Nicks’ inconsistencies are a major reason for the failures of the Giants’ offense. We’ve all seen what New York is capable of when Cruz and Nicks are playing at an elite level. The receivers feed off of each other and make it nearly impossible for a defense to account for both of them. In 2011, the Giants just dismantled teams in the playoffs en route to a Super Bowl victory. With Randle now in the role that Mario Manningham previously occupied, it should be the same story.
If Nicks can somehow find his way back to superstardom, it’s not inconceivable to think the Giants could turn their season around. However, continuing along the path he’s on now would likely mean goodbye for Nicks at the end of the year.