- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Hakeem Nicks' continued absence from the New York Giants' passing game remains one of the team's most nettlesome issues, even as the Giants have won four games in a row to dip their toe into the NFC East race. A clearly frustrated Nicks sat out a few plays Sunday, tagging out in favor of Louis Murphy, who helped cause an interception with a bad route, and sitting off by himself until some teammates went over to talk to him.
New York Giants
After the game, Nicks downplayed the incident, saying it was "just football," which it clearly was not. Football was being played on the field, and Nicks was not there. So whatever was going on with him was something other than football. He said he was not injured on the play a short time earlier on which the Packers' Tramon Williams was called for pass interference when the two collided. Several other Giants have hinted over the past 24 hours that whatever the situation was with Nicks, it was unusual and not one they're interested in discussing.
"That’s not something I’m going to discuss," coach Tom Coughlin said Monday. "What I did see was the play that resulted in an interception that everybody saw and the play before that, but those things will stay inside and we’ll make the corrections and we’ll do a better job of trying to get everybody on the same page and we’ll move forward."
Weird, but everything about Nicks' situation this year is weird. Playing in a contract year, he has yet to catch a touchdown pass, has not shown an explosive ability to run downfield and separate from defenders and has not been a major asset to Eli Manning in the passing game. The Giants and Nicks continue to insist he will come around, but 10 games are in the books with only six to go, and if he's going to snap out of it in time to help the Giants keep winning and/or get himself a fat new contract, he's going to have to do it soon.
Coughlin said he believed Nicks was experiencing frustration.
"I’m sure that there is, and we all share in that," Coughlin said. "We'll just continue to try to support and encourage him to be the best that he can be and it will happen. There have been opportunities, but we’ve just got to continue to try to get better, work together and it will happen."