If Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton wanted to push the buttons of receiver Hakeem Nicks by questioning his conditioning earlier in camp, it apparently worked.
Nicks, whose first August with the Colts had fallen somewhere in the gulf that resides between “blah” and “meh,” caught plenty of attention on Saturday night with a five-catch, 53-yard performance in limited duty against his former team, the Giants. Now, Nicks is catching praise along with those passes.
And his starting quarterback, Andrew Luck, caught a little flak for the perception that he force-fed the ball to Nicks.
“A couple of guys on the team asked me that,” Luck said after the game, via Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. “[They said], ‘You were giving it to Hakeem on purpose, huh?’ I think you give it to the open guy on purpose. It was just the way the game played out.”
It would have played out as six catches for 86 yards for Nicks, but a 36-yard gain was wiped off the board due to Nicks giving a wave to cornerback Trumaine McBride during the play.
“Coach Pagano definitely talked to me,” Nicks said of the 15-yard penalty. “He knew I knew better. He talked to me. . . . I got caught up in the moment.”
If last night’s game is a sign of things to come, there will be plenty of moments for Nicks, the Colts, and the team’s fans to get caught up in.
And while it appears that Giants coach Tom Coughlin may have gotten caught up in the moment and slapped Nicks in the face after a game in which Coughlin’s starting offense looked horrible, that’s a pat on the cheek. If Nicks does it again when the teams get together in the regular season, then it could become a slap.