Giants veteran receiver could hold key to 2013 success.
Giants veteran receiver could hold key to 2013 success.

With all the commotion about Victor Cruz and his holdout grabbing all the headlines these days, perhaps the biggest key to Giants’ success (at least on offense) is for Hakeem Nicks to come back healthy and reinvigorate the passing game.

There was no mistaking it: Nicks was simply not the player in 2012 that he is capable of being. While battling knee and foot injuries, Nicks appeared in 13 games last season.

You can’t fault Nicks for gutting it out and trying to give the Giants all he’s got, but in hindsight, the best thing Nicks could have done was get surgery (something he had after the season) early in the season and come back refreshed for the 2013 season.

Nicks ended last season with only 53 receptions for 692 yards and three touchdowns. You take away his 10-catch, 199-yard performance (plus a touchdown) against Tampa Bay in Week 3 and Nicks was practically non-existent last year.

However, all signs seem good for Nicks to be ready to go this season. He has participated in many workouts with Eli Manning in anticipation for the 2013 campaign.

When Nicks is healthy, he is as good as any receiver in the game. Nicks is routinely good for 1,000+ yards and 7-10 touchdowns a year. Between 2010 and 2011, Nicks combined to catch 155 passes for 2,244 yards and 18 touchdowns.

And who could forget Nicks’ magical 2012 postseason run in which he racked up 28 receptions for 444 yards and four touchdowns?

Now that he appears to be healthy, expect Nicks and Manning to be on the same page this year. Their timing and rhythm-something that was clearly missing last year is of paramount importance to the Giants’ offense. With Cruz expected to come back eventually although nothing is certain-he and Nicks will have to be on their A-game if the Giants’ pass game is to be trusted this year. And if by some chance Cruz (shudder to think) is not with the Giants in 2013, then that makes Nicks’ healthy presence even more vital.

With the Giants apparently suffering from a Super Bowl “hangover” last year, the time is ripe for the Giants to rebound in 2013. And a lot of that hinges on Nicks’ ability to get back on the field and produce at the clip we all know he can.

With Domenik Hixon and Ramses Barden departing and Rueben Randle (although the future seems bright) still just in his second year in the league, the Giants have to get a consistent, healthy year out of Nicks, as he may hold the key for the Giants’ success in 2013.