Victor Cruz has said multiple times he'd love to see Hakeem Nicks back with the New York Giants in 2014. In fact, he even claims a gut feeling tells him that Nicks will, in fact, return next season. But, in the event things don't shake out that way, Cruz believes their Eli Manning-led offense will be just fine without him.
"I think so. He's obviously been a big piece for us in the last years that he's been with us. But I think we definitely always have the talent in our receiving room to be successful. I think that's just a testament to how we drafted and how we got players to fit the mold to our offense," Cruz said on Wednesday. "I think we can definitely be able to be successful if Hakeem has to move on. It's something that we're going to have to look at. And we hope not, but we'll see how it goes."
From a production standpoint, it's not as if the Giants would have to replace big numbers — at least not by 2013 standards. But the reality is, a healthy and consistent Hakeem Nicks is still one of the better wide receivers in the game — even he'll tell you that — and that's not something that will not be easily forgotten by General Manager Jerry Reese and team ownership.
Still, fewer than 900 yards and no touchdowns to speak of in a contract year raises some red flags. And although Nicks admits that a concern for his health may have played a minor role in his poor season, both he and Cruz openly acknowledge that the main contributing factor was lack of continuity with quarterback Eli Manning. Something Cruz also alluded to while appearing at an Xbox event on Wednesday.
”Honestly, I thought we’d go in and we’d pick it up right where we left off, especially with guys who have been around and done it before like myself and Hakeem and Rueben. I thought we would come in and pick it right up," Cruz said. "It goes to show you that it takes a lot more than just that. You have to build a lot more continuity, you have to build a lot more trust mentally with your quarterback. I think it’s important."
In an effort to combat that in 2014, Cruz says he will reach out to Manning shortly after Valentine's Day to begin their offseason workouts. Whether or not Hakeem Nicks joins them or ever wears the same uniform again remains to be seen.
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