Ever since Plaxico Burress decided to put a gun in his sweatpants, the Giants have looked for a No. 1 receiving option for quarterback Eli Manning to throw to.
Whether or not they have it now in Nicks is uncertain, but one thing is for sure — Nicks has set the bar pretty high for himself.
The University of North Carolina product opened his 2010 season in grand fashion on Sunday afternoon in first regular season game in the New Meadowlands.
Manning found Nicks four times for 75 yards and three of those times he did so in the endzone. Nicks stepped up this week and delivered. Now, all the Giants need him to do is the same thing next week and for the rest of the season.
A legitimate wide receiving threat is something the Giants need badly. They haven't been the same team since Burress was put away, and there running game is, at the moment, a far cry from the "Earth, Wind and Fire" days of Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw and Derrick Ward.
The Giants will have to rely on Manning moving the ball through the air and if Nicks is really evolving into a top-flight receiver, it will only help the cause. The fact that Nicks may not even be the best receiver on the Giants — Mario Manningham is considered by many to be a future Pro Bowler — is a testament to how good the New York passing attack could be. If anything, the two may relieve the pressure off of each other.
But for them to have any sort of sustained success, Nicks will have to prove that Week 1 was the rule, not the exception. He showed flashes of brilliance during his rookie season on his way to catching six touchdown passes.
But like many rookies, Nicks battled bouts of inconsistency, something the Giants dearly paid for at season's end. In the final two games of the season, Nicks only had seven catches for 39 yards. The G-Men lost those two contests by a combined 69 points.
And with the potential loss of tight end Kevin Boss to concussion looming, Nicks' role may become even more important.
He'll get a shot to prove he's for real next week. The Giants are set to clash with the Colts in the "Manning Bowl." With Peyton Manning running the offense on the other side of the field, the Giants may find themselves in a shootout.
For them to withstand that barrage, Hakeem Nicks will have to be a weapon in Eli Manning's holster.
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