EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The way the question was asked offered New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride a way around it. After admitting he was (obviously) surprised that former top wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has only one catch in the red zone this season and no touchdowns, Gilbride was asked whether Nicks' struggles had anything to do with the way defenses were playing him.
"No," Gilbride said. "Not at all. Even the game Sunday, we had a shot and it hit him right in the chest."
When the season began, Nicks was still in the Giants' long-term plans, though he and the team agreed that it would be best to see him play out this season before negotiating a new contract. Nicks is eligible for free agency at season's end, but he didn't want to negotiate off his injury-plagued 2012 season, and the Giants wanted to see if he could get through this season healthy. Ostensibly, and by all accounts, he is healthy. But he's had a dreadful season during which it hasn't always seemed as though he's played as hard as he possibly could. It's clear the coaching staff has grown frustrated.
"He's had some chances," Gilbride said. "Sometimes, the ball's going another way. Sometimes, the coverage has dictated that it go to somebody else. But there have been opportunities. Sunday we misfired on one where he was wide-open down the sideline. So it just hasn't worked out. But am I surprised? No question."