Big Blue Morning: Nicks nicked, Baas done

Your daily morning check-in on news and notes about and of interest to the New York Giants.

The news of the day: Lots of talk around the Giants about wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and the tough year he's having. Tom Coughlin said Wednesday that Nicks needs to be more reliable. And while Nicks said he thinks his game is the same as it ever was and people are just focusing on him more because he's in a contract year and has been mentioned in trade rumors, it seems obvious to anyone watching that Nicks isn't the same player he was before the leg injuries of 2012. Maybe he gets better as the year goes along. Maybe the legs never come back. Either is a possibility, as are several outcomes along the middle part of that spectrum. Whatever happens, assuming they don't trade him by Tuesday, Nicks remains one of the big issues facing the Giants for the remainder of this season and into the offseason. ... In other news, the Giants placed starting center David Baas on season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury, meaning Jim Cordle takes over as the starting center. Cordle has improved since the start of the season, and has started as many games this year as the injury-plagued Baas has, but the Giants are struggling against defensive pressure on the interior of the offensive line, and they would prefer a healthy Baas. They just don't have one, and likely won't ever again.

Behind enemy lines: Giants coaches and players spoke Wednesday about how much improvement they believe the Eagles have shown on defense since they played them in Week 5, but one of the Eagles' starting cornerbacks is missing practice time this week with an injury. Bradley Fletcher wasn't the most exciting free-agent signing of the offseason, but he's covered pretty well and is a key aspect of the Eagles' improved ability to limit opponents.

Around the division: The Cowboys are feeling good about themselves these days as they've won a couple of games in a row and moved into first place in the NFC East. But they have a big test of a game this week against the Detroit Lions, and one of the biggest keys will be the ability of Dallas defensive back Brandon Carr to limit the damage done by Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson.

Around the league: Greg Garber's look at the NFL trade deadline was a fun read, and he proposed some potential doozies, including this off-the-wall idea of the Giants trading for Minnesota's Adrian Peterson. Don't sweat it, Giants fans. Not possible, for salary cap and a whole bunch of other reasons. Probably fun to imagine, though.