After dragging themselves through what felt like a lifeless Pop Warner football game, the New York Giants recorded their first win of the season Monday night with a 23-7 victory over the equally dismal Minnesota Vikings. Highlights were few and far between for either team. Tons of question marks still surround the Giants despite the win, but wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has rapidly become the biggest one.
Among other in-game atrocities, Nicks’ poor performance stuck out like a sore thumb. He had only 2 catches for 28 yards after being targeted 10 times. His most noticeable misstep were 3 dropped passes, 2 of which were extremely catchable and routine. Supposedly fully healthy, Nicks has yet to score a touchdown this season.
As a 5-year veteran, Nicks has never been off to this slow a start. New York never knows which Hakeem they’ll get on any given night. He can have 142 receiving yards like he did against the Eagles in Week 5, or play like he did Monday. As one of the more athletic wide receivers in the league, it’s hard to believe this is anything more than a slump for Nicks.
Another factor that could be contributing to Nicks’ lack of success this season is interception-frenzied quarterback Eli Manning. Manning has been unsettled throwing the ball with what little protection he’s gotten from his offensive line, which has resulted in inaccurate passes and missed opportunities. With a better throw Monday night, Nicks would have had his 1st touchdown from Manning in the 1st quarter.
It’s difficult to ignore the trade rumors for Nicks, which could be weighing on his mind. As he slips further and further from the image of his old self, the Giants are considering all their options. Is it worth trading someone who has meant so much to their success? If he continues to play inconsistently, it might just be.