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New York Giants Reader Q&A Topics: Hakeem Nicks, 2014 and Salvaging This Season

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New York Giants Reader Q&A Topics: Hakeem Nicks, 2014 and Salvaging This Season
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Normally I try to hold a weekly Twitter Q&A every Thursday night during the season for New York Giants fans.

Well, between hosting the Thanksgiving holiday and trying to squeeze in my work obligations—football beat writers unfortunately don’t get holidays off—I wasn’t able to do that this week.

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So I thought, "Why not ask for questions and use this space to offer longer responses instead of abbreviated answers that are forced due to Twitter’s 144-character limit?"

That's what I've done here and what I'll continue to do if you want to see more of this feature. Be sure to cast your vote, and make sure you're following me on Twitter for reminders for questions.

You can also post your questions in the comment section and I'll answer as many as I can.  

Now for the reader-submitted questions.

 

How do you predict the Hakeem Nicks saga plays out during the offseason assuming no dramatic change in his productivity? 

Al Bello/Getty Images

I’ve said as far back as the offseason when Nicks first started skipping the OTAs that I believed this would be his last season as a Giant. Nothing has happened to change my mind.

In my experience, I’ve found that when a pending free agent is asked whether he wants to return the next year, he takes one of two approaches.

The first is to respond affirmatively, as Victor Cruz did and as Jon Beason has been doing, even though making that declaration can sometimes undercut one's negotiating power.

The second approach, as Nicks has done, is to stay silent or to avoid answering the question. 

Nicks has claimed that he hasn’t been frustrated by how this season has gone, but in the same breath he claims to be a competitor.

If he’s as much of a competitor as he claims to be, how can he not be frustrated by how his season has gone?

 

Thoughts of placing Hakeem Nicks on injured reserve and getting Rueben Randle more time as the No. 2 receiver?  

I don’t think that placing Nicks on injured reserve is the way to get Randle more time even if it means he’d technically become the No. 2 receiver.

Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Nicks has had 599 offensive snaps to Randle’s 421.

However, Nicks has been thrown to 73 times, catching 42, while Randle has caught 32 of 56 balls thrown his way.  

That’s a difference of 17 targets between Nicks and Randle, not really a huge margin.

The other thing to consider is that if Nicks goes on injured reserve, who becomes the third receiver?

Jerrel Jernigan, who, despite being behind Louis Murphy on the team’s depth chart, has received 85 snaps to Murphy’s 36.

In addition, Jernigan has been targeted 17 times, catching 10 passes for 92 yards.

Murphy? He’s only been thrown to three times this year, catching two passes for 12 yards and one touchdown.

 

Do you think, looking ahead, the Giants are in as bad shape as most seem to think?

My opinion is that this team is approaching a crossroads.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Damontre Moore

They have an aging core of players and a group of unproven young talent like defensive end Damontre Moore, cornerback Jayron Hosley, safety Cooper Taylor and tight end Adrien Robinson, all of whom have potential, but whose respective developments were stunted this year due to injuries.

While I don’t think the team needs to be completely gutted, I do think there is a lot more work for general manager Jerry Reese to do this offseason. By my count, he has roughly more than two dozen contracts that are expiring after this year, as follows:

Upcoming Giants Free Agents
Offense Defense Special Teams
QB Curtis Painter DE Justin Tuck K Josh Brown
RB Brandon Jacobs DT Linval Joseph
RB Andre Brown DT Mike Patterson
RB Peyton Hillis DT Shaun Rogers*
FB Henry Hynoski (RFA)* LB Spencer Paysinger (RFA)
WR Hakeem Nicks LB Mark Herzlich (RFA)
WR Louis Murphy LB Jon Bason
TE Bear Pascoe LB Keith Rivers
OL David Diehl CB Terrell Thomas
OL Kevin Boothe CB Trumaine McBride
OL Dallas Reynolds S Ryan Mundy
OL Jim Cordle (RFA)* S Stevie Brown*

* Denotes a player on IR; all are unrestricted free agents unless otherwise noted.

That’s a lot of decisions to make, and potentially a lot of holes to fill. In addition, decisions will have to be made on the contracts for offensive linemen Chris Snee and David Baas and tight end Brandon Myers.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

I also suspect that the contracts of quarterback Eli Manning and safety Antrel Rolle might be reworked via extensions in order to clear out more cap space.  

We will also need to gain clarity on the health status of running back David Wilson, who, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, has an eye on a return in 2014.

Any time you have the potential of approximately 37 percent of your roster being turned over (the Giants have, by my count, 70 players under contact this year between the active roster, practice squad, and injured reserve list), then I can certainly see why there would be concern about their stability moving forward. 

The good news, at least according to Over the Cap, is that the Giants currently have 36 players under contract for the start of the 2014 league year in March, which is when the Top 51 Rule comes back into effect.

So there will be money to spend; the question is how will the Giants spend it?

 

What should happen from now on so you would say, "It's been a good season"?

The one thing I’m going to be looking for in these remaining five weeks is how this team responds to head coach Tom Coughlin's message.

This week, Coughlin said in his press conference that he would be looking to see if the players shared his enthusiasm for the remaining five games of the season, starting this weekend in Washington.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

“We’ve got to come back up. We play Washington a couple of times here in real short, close range," he said.  

“I’ll look for them to share with me the excitement and the idea of the competitive nature of another divisional game.”

So, I think some of the things we need to look for include how much pep the team has in its step in these last few games.

Are they going about their business and heeding their coach’s advisory to curb the trash talking?

These are important factors to watch for, as if the Giants come out flat, if they engage in trash talking , that means that Coughlin’s message is falling on deaf ears.

If that happens, that in my opinion, is a major problem.

Thanks for the questions!

 

Patricia Traina is the senior editor for Inside Football. All quotes and information obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow Patricia on Twitter, @Patricia_Traina.

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