Good morning on a not so good morning for Giants fans with the news that wide receiver, and special teams standout, Domenik Hixon has been lost for the season due to a torn acl injury suffered on Tuesday during the team’s mandatory minicamp. While the Giants were initially optimistic that Hixon had only hyper-extended his knee, a closer evaluation and MRI revealed the tear, ending Hixon’s season before it began. Hixon is scheduled for surgery in 2-3 weeks and will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2010 season.
The Hixon news is all too familiar to the Giants who have suffered significant injury losses before the season in 2008 (Osi Umeniyora) and again in 2009 (Jay Alford and Guy Whimper). How big is the Hixon loss? In our opinion, pretty big, but not insurmountable by any means. Hixon was number 4 on the depth chart at wide receiver behind Smith, Nicks, and Manningham, and was going to be pushed for snaps by Ramses Barden, Derek Hagan, Travis Beckum, and maybe even Sinorice Moss (whose roster spot may just be safe now). Hixon’s real value is on special teams, both in kickoff and punt returns and that is the greater concern.
Jerry Reese has mentioned Manningham and Aaron Ross as possible punt return men, but do you want to risk Manningham to injury on special teams after he had a breakout season in 2009? And Aaron Ross has had a difficult time staying healthy and hasn’t been involved in the punt return game since his days at Texas. Still, both of these guys might just get a chance to take over punt return duties. Antrell Rolle could be an option, but his importance to the secondary (and in consideration of his $37 million dollar deal) make him an unlikely fit there.
Sinorice Moss looks good on paper as a replacement for Hixon, but he has shown virtually nothing in the past when given the opportunity (and save your jokes and slams on this one, we are only referring to Moss’ inability to break through on special teams and not to his shortcomings at the wide receiver position). Andre Brown, returning from his lost rookie campaign, is a likely option on kickoffs and the Giants also might consider Danny Ware. One name to watch is undrafted rookie free agent Tim Brown out of Rutgers who has impressed in camp and has the skills to excel in the return game.
Jerry Reese has not ruled out trade options and you can be sure he is looking at the waiver wire and street free agenst as we speak. Could Buffalo’s Roscoe Parrish be a good fit? If Jerry is thinking trade, this is the guy I want as Parrish has shown the ability to make big plays on special teams and also adds a little more depth at wide receiver. If Parrish can be had for a later round draft pick, Reese should pull the trigger. Reese and Coughlin are not going to hit the panic button so expect a little time to pass as the Giants look at their in-house options first.
There has been a lot said about Ramses Barden, his spectacular minicamp performances, and his increased understanding of the offense. Barden (and Beckum) both have an opportunity to move up the depth chart and earn playing time as the 4th wide receiver slot is now open. Let’s see who steps up, Stay Blue!