New York Giants: Are Hakeem Nicks, Ahmad Bradshaw Products of the System?

Nick KostoraContributor IIISeptember 20, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 02:  Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants celebrates scoring a touchdown with teammates Jake Ballard #85, Ahmad Bradshaw #44 and Victor Cruz #80 against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Are Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw truly as good as advertised?

Because Ramses Barden and Andre Brown are making a strong case that they are merely products of the New York Giants' offensive system.

There is no denying that Bradshaw and Nicks are talented, but when Barden and Brown torch an opposing defense like they have done to the Carolina Panthers in Week 3, questions must be asked.

Brown has more yards in this game than Bradshaw had in the previous two, and he has done so on fewer total carries.

Similarly, Barden has caught for 138 yards on just nine receptions and made the loss of Nicks seem like an afterthought for the Giants.

Quarterback Eli Manning has found seven different targets throughout the contest, and Barden has been the most versatile and productive of them all.

Would Bradshaw and Nicks have been as efficient in this contest?

Perhaps, but that is beside the point.

The New York offense can succeed without them and can plug in complete unknowns to get the job done.

Is Bradshaw even capable of excelling as the top running back on the depth chart anyway? He has struggled mightily since assuming a full-time role last season, only averaging 3.9 yards per carry in that time span and suffering multiple injuries.

However, the point is that the Giants running game is not contingent on the health and success of Bradshaw. Brown has stepped in admirably and excelled Thursday night, while Brandon Jacobs had two separate 1,000-yard rushing seasons during his time as the Giants' leading man.

As for Nicks, while he is clearly New York's No. 1 receiver, different receivers have consistently garnered Manning's attention.

Bardem is having a career night, Victor Cruz rose from obscurity to stardom last season, Steve Smith led the team in receiving three short years ago and Domenik Hixon a year before that.

In fact, no wideout has led the Giants in receiving in back-to-back years since Plaxico Burress accomplished the feat in 2006-07.

New York is a team with tremendous offensive balance and a commitment to working within a system regardless of the names on the depth chart. Manning is the undeniable glue that holds it all together, but outside of him all other parts are interchangeable.

That much continues to be proven each and every year.