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Tom Coughlin: Hakeem Nicks has 'gotta get better'

After Monday's victory over the Minnesota Vikings, we pointed out that the New York Giants' nominal No. 1 receiver, Hakeem Nicks, has been outplayed by third receiver Rueben Randle.

Nicks dropped a series of first-half passes, which led coach Tom Coughlin to the conclusion that "there's a couple of those balls he should have caught."

Coughlin went a step further Thursday, suggesting that the Giants haven't been able to count on Nicks this season.

"He's gotta get better," Coughlin said, via The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.). "He's gotta get to the point where the reliability factor is there as strongly as it always has been. Has it been there up to this point? No. But we're saying 'let's work, let's get back to work and get this done.' We count on this guy."

Whereas Pro Football Focus credits quarterback Eli Manning with a passing rating of 100.5 on throws to Victor Cruz, that number plummets to 59.0 on passes intended for Nicks.

In other words, the Eli-to-Nicks connection generates production commensurate with a typical Blaine Gabbert or Brandon Weeden outing.

Nicks might get a pass for dropped passes while playing through a dislocated finger, but the primary concern is that he hasn't consistently separated from coverage or made plays after the catch since lower-leg injuries sabotaged his 2012 season.

In the final year of his rookie contract, Nicks desperately needs a big season to convince the Giants he's worth another long-term commitment.

If Coughlin's team slides to 1-7 at the mid-season point after Sunday's game against the Eagles in Philadelphia, it would behoove general manager Jerry Reese to listen to trade offers for Nicks.

The "Around The League Podcast" spoke with NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell on Wednesday. Click here to listen and subscribe.

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