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Giants Q&A: Hakeem Nicks shows frustration with himself

Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle scores a touchdown

Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle scores a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers. (Nov. 17, 2013) Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Why wasn't Hakeem Nicks on the field when Eli Manning threw the interception on a pass intended for Louis Murphy Jr.?

At first the wide receiver said he was a little winded and "I just came out, one of those situations where I let Murph go ahead and take that rep." But Murphy hardly takes any reps. Nicks later admitted that he was on the sideline in frustration after he and Manning missed connections on a pass in the end zone two snaps earlier. "My opportunities [are few and far between], so I like taking advantage of every opportunity," Nicks said. "I was getting on myself a little bit."

Didn't Nicks say he would catch a touchdown pass?

He did. It's now been 12 games since he's hauled in a pass for any points. After the missed opportunity and the interception, Nicks was visibly miffed and pacing the sideline. At one point, he stood alone at one end of the bench while the rest of the offense was together at the other end.

Who talked him down?

Brandon Jacobs got in Nicks' face for an animated conversation that he said was a "pep talk . . . I love him like a brother. I want to see him do as best as he possibly can," Jacobs said. "Regardless of what the issue was, I'm here to give him confidence and inspire him as a teammate the best way I possibly can."

Did it work?

Well, Nicks didn't get into the end zone. But he did catch a 35-yard pass early in the third quarter and finished with four receptions for 50 yards. "Hakeem is a beast, man," Jacobs said. "Everybody knows Hakeem is a monster out there. Everybody goes through their ups and downs. We're football players and we are human and that's what happens. But Hakeem is a monster."

What does "New PP" mean?

It has nothing to do with Jason Pierre-Paul, if that's what you're thinking. It was the call safety Ryan Mundy made just before the Packers' fake punt in the third quarter when he noticed they had a new personal protector (or PP). Instead of John Kuhn, M.D. Jennings had come in and the ball was snapped directly to him. He ran for about 6¾ yards on fourth-and-7, giving the ball back to the Giants on downs.

Were the Giants ready for that fake?

Tom Coughlin said he was because the Packers accepted a running-into-the-kicker penalty against Murphy on the previous snap, negating a punt that was fair-caught at the 17. "We had a defense called for it," he said.The players said the defense was blitzing and trying to block the punt until Mundy's alert switched them into more of a base scheme. Spencer Paysinger, who made the tackle with Mark Herzlich, also noted that the Packers were uncharacteristically hurrying to get back to the line for the re-punt.

But wait, don't the Giants' special teams stink?

They have this season, but they came up big on that particular play. "We're proud that we stopped it," Herzlich said. "It was nice to contribute to a win rather than win in spite of what the special teams did."

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