Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz both combined to have a monstrous game last week in Big Blue’s come from behind win over the Buccaneers, but if you didn’t watch the game you probably had no idea that Nicks played through what appeared to be a painful injury that occurred during the game. Nicks had just finished recovering from off-season surgery on his foot when the FOX Sports video crew caught him getting stepped on during a play, but he shrugged it off and continued to torch the Tampa defense.
Now, with the Giants in the middle of a short week of rest as they prepare to face the Panthers tonight, it seems Nicks’ foot is still bothering him. The Giants have downgraded him from questionable to out, and with Domenik Hixon also banged up, the door has opened for former Cal Poly All American Ramses Barden.
Barden has one catch in the two games so far this season, and my gut feeling is that the team REALLY wants him to succeed. Remember, the Giants moved up several spots in the 2009 draft in order to take Barden in the third round. With such limited action in his regular season career so far, the timing for this opportunity could not be better for the 6’6.5″ wideout. He was the tallest receiver in his draft class, and with the shorter but speedy Victor Cruz lined up alongside him, it could make for an interesting tandem in tonight’s showdown in Charlotte.
While Barden will have his chance, this game may also provide an opportunity for other receivers buried in the depth chart. The recently drafted Reuben Randle left LSU after his junior season to join in the NFL draft, and we should keep our eye out for him on the field. Eli Manning has shown us time and time again that he knows how to spread the ball around, and I think that’s just what he’ll try to do tonight.