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Re-Living “The Dream”

Look – I’m not a huge proponent of using preseason statistics to prove anybody’s worth, particularly for a team like the Giants where individual efforts are overshadowed by the mantra of “One team, one goal.” However, one significant stat hidden away here by Jeremy Fuchs should dispel the notion that the Giants lack a deep threat, or a serious passing attack in general:

Hakeem Nicks led the NFL during the preseason with 272 receiving yards.

That’s an amazing statistic given that at the start of the 2009 training season the biggest question surrounding the Giants was ‘Who among them could possibly catch a football?’ It’s true, the Giants don’t have a veteran receiver to speak of, and their success historically comes from a ‘run then defend’ game plan, tried and true smash-mouth football. And in the wake of losing Amani Toomer and Plaxico Burress, many analysts had the Giants pegged as a team without a playmaker at the WR position. In a recent example, the Giants’ own Carl Banks repeatedly mentioned throughout the third preseason matchup agains the Jets that Big Blue needed more time to find a Go-To-Guy (GTG) on offense, someone who can get open and make big plays.

But those of us watching right as Banks spoke those words, we vividly remember what happened next. David Carr under pressure lofted one up to the back of the end zone in desperation to avoid a sack. As fate would have it, Hakeem Nicks under severely close coverage tracked the ball into his hands in an impressive diving touchdown catch, interrupting Banks who was still talking about GTG’s no less (replay can be seen here). “There’s one,” Banks said.

‘There’s one’ indeed.

Hakeem “The Dream” Nicks got up and stood still for several moments, basking in the applause from the crowd like he was waiting for that moment all his life. Something about his manner though as he stood there motionless looking around, while it led you to believe he was enjoying the long overdue opportunity, he was also saying to everyone: ‘All right, lets do that again.’

So of course, that ‘one’ wouldn’t be the last for the Jets game (or for the preseason) as it turned out. Later in the game, Nicks properly read the coverage at scrimmage and changed to a Go route after picking up a blitz, which was also picked up by Carr as well. The result was another deep pass for a touchdown (replay can be seen here). The statement from Nicks was unmistakable and obvious  – “Here is your Go-To-Guy.”

Lets crunch some preseason numbers for “The Dream”:

Rec         Yds          Avg          TDs
9               272           30.2           3

And upon further review:

  • Nicks only had meaningful playing time in weeks 3 and 4
  • each touchdown reception came off an incredibly difficult catch
  • all touchdown receptions occured while the Giants were outside the Red Zone (aka Coughlin’s Green Zone)

What can you deduce from all this? The Giants have found themselves a bona fide playmaking GTG, as it WR. Get it?

Now, I wouldn’t start asking “Plaxico who?”, because it was preseason and the games mean nothing in the end. But when you consider the potential that the Giants have as a passing team, and the larger question of who among the receivers are a deep threat that can stretch the field and sell the play action packages and QB draw plays — consider this:

Hakeem Nicks led the NFL during the preseason with 272 receiving yards!

The Giants’ opposition has to consider him a factor now, too.

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One Response to “Re-Living “The Dream””

  1. Jesse Cassel says:

    I think nicks is a speacial player i mean he made a that catch in the patriot game that was poorly trown by carr and it was not ganna be an easy grab, i thought it was an incomplete pass, and he made a great stop and jump catch i mean that really took some talent, skill, and consintration. i really do think he should be the number one guy i mean no one else on the team has shown they can be a play maker i mean i think he should be number one but they need to atleast make him the number 2 reciever. he has to be out there every down for the giants to have a good target out there. i dont know if this is true so dont quote me on it but i heard from someone that eli said that hakeem is going to be a real good reciever and that he shows big play ability. i dont know if that acctually came from eli’s mouth though.

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