"Just like with everyone else, improvement, improvement, improvement," Coughlin said Wednesday. "He's got to improve. He's got to get better. He's got to get to a 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."
Nicks dropped three passes in Monday's victory against the Minnesota Vikings and has no touchdown receptions this season.
Nicks is eligible for unrestricted free agency at the end of this season. While fellow wideout Victor Cruz was negotiating a long-term deal with the team last offseason, Nicks and the Giants agreed to play the year out, as he was coming off an injury-plagued 2012 season in which both sides believed he could show more. He's the second-most targeted receiver on the team behind Cruz, but he hasn't produced at the No. 1 wide receiver level.
"I don't feel like my game is any different than what it's been in the past," Nicks said. "I think people are just putting more significance on it due to what kind of year it is for me – because of what lies ahead for me and all the outside talk that's going on right now."
Coughlin said he's not concerned that the contract situation or trade rumors are affecting Nicks' play.
"I'm not," Coughlin said. "Because anybody who thinks that way, fundamentally, you'd better take care of your business on the field. You'd better get your job done to the fullest of your ability."
Giants quarterback Eli Manning hasn't lost faith in Nicks.
"I don't see anything different with him," Manning said. "I have great confidence in him and trust and I know he's going to do a great job. He's made a lot of big plays for us, and hopefully he'll continue to do that. I'm not worried about Hakeem at all."
As of last week, the Giants were not inclined to deal Nicks before Tuesday's trade deadline and hadn't given up hope of signing him to a long-term deal, according to people familiar with the situation.