November 8, 2012
Banged-up Hakeem Nicks won't rest
By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
Knee and foot injuries have played havoc with New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks this season and his production reflects it.
With just one touchdown and 390 receiving yards, Nicks is on pace for the worst season of his career.
So is he worried?
“No man, stats is for girls, man,” Nicks told reporters in New York on Thursday. “It’s football man. The season is going to be up and down.”
Nicks is still clearly banged up as he missed practice on Wednesday before returning in a limited role on Thursday as the Giants prepare for a road game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
“They see it’s definitely getting better each week,” Nicks said of his condition. “That’s one thing the coaches say, that they can tell I’m running a lot better each week. Each week has definitely been better, so it’s getting there.”
The G-men could consider resting Nicks on Sunday and letting him get good and healthy through next week’s bye. But with the Giants struggling a little on offence, it’s doubtful they will want to risk not having one of their better weapons in the lineup.
STAY IN SCHOOL, KIDS!
So now we know why Mark Sanchez hasn’t been able to make an impact as a starting quarterback in the NFL: He left college too early.
That is the long-time view of his college coach, Pete Carroll, who will face Sanchez and the Jets as the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.
Sanchez, of course, left USC a year early to enter the NFL draft leaving Carroll and the Trojans without their starting quarterback.
“I told Mark exactly what I would have told my son. Exactly,” Carroll told reporters in Seattle this week. “I just told him what I knew was the truth. He could have been better prepared if we’d have had him for another year. And I think it would have served him even better.”
Carroll made similar remarks in 2009 and Sanchez’s limited success thus far with the Jets would suggest he might be on to something.
Jets coach Rex Ryan isn’t putting much stock into it, however, suggesting that any coach would be bummed at losing a successful college quarterback.
“I did not blame Pete Carroll one bit, because if I had that young man as my quarterback, I’d say whatever it took to get the guy to stay with me,” Ryan said. “Deep down, he knew he was ready. This guy has a ton of ability. You don’t want to lose a player of this calibre, especially one at that position.
“It’s hard to find quarterbacks.”
Ryan would know.
MEGA INJURIES FOR MEGATRON
It hasn’t taken video review to realize that something hasn’t been right with Detroit Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson this season.
Dropped passes. Tentative routs. And nowhere near the production we’ve seen in recent years.
Turns out that Megatron has had some mega-sized injury issues, including nerve damage that has made it difficult to grip the ball.
Johnson addressed his health this week — he still isn’t practising because of a knee injury — and said he suffered the nerve damage from a pair of crushing hits in a September defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings.
“Taking those hits, they’re real violent,” Johnson said. “They definitely have a lot of lingering impact on whether it be your neck or your head. It can do a lot of stuff.”
The two plays in particular included a dropped TD pass when he was crushed by Vikes safety Harrison Smith and another when a hit to the head from linebacker Chad Greenway left Johnson concussed. Since then, Johnson has, uncharacteristically, had trouble holding onto the football and thus limiting the Lions’ attack.
“Not to blame it on that, but I think that the concussion maybe could have had something to do with some of the (nerve) damage I had going on,” Johnson said.
NO RUSH FOR MENDENHALL
When it comes to Rashard Mendenhall, there’s no rush to lead the rush.
With a pair of backup backs doing just fine for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it is unlikely that Mendenhall will return for what should be a pushover date with the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night.
But when Mendenhall is sufficiently recovered from an Achilles injury, he’ll return to the top spot no matter how well Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman continue to perform in his absence.
“Rashard has always been our lead dog and our top runner,” Steelers running back coach Kirby Wilson told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Rashard is the complete package — power, speed, explosiveness. He is the guy who can take a 10-yard run and make people miss and get 20 more.”
Given the performance of his understudies, there’s no panic in the Steelers backfield, however. Dwyer topped 100 yards in back-to-back games before sitting out this past Sunday with a quad injury and, in his place, Redman rumbled for a career-high 147 yards.