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Kevin Gilbride on Hakeem Nicks: 'There's a reason he's a starter'

New York Giants' offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride Thursday discussed the value of Hakeem Nicks to the team's offense.

Hakeem Nicks practiced on Thursday for the first time in several weeks. Whether he will be available Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers is yet to be determined, butGiants' offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride would certainly love to have him available, saying Thursday that "you always want your best players."

"There's a reason he's a starter. You see the contribution he's capable of making when you see Tampa Bay, that's the difference. The other guys, as you have mentioned, have filled in admirably, we're very proud to see what Ramses (Barden) did for a couple of games, what Rueben (Randle) did this past game, Domenik (Hixon) has been unbelievable all season long," Gilbride said. "A lot of the things that maybe people on the outside don't see, not only the terrific catches, but his blocking, his route running, some of the things he's done have been phenomenal. I'm proud of them all, but you always want your best players, when you get your starters to come back.

"The more you have there, the more difficult it is for people to match up. Some of the advantages that they may have in certain spots, maybe they start swinging in your favor. To get him back would be great. The problem is, just getting him back is one thing, what level is he able to play at, is the other. That's what we'll have to wait and see."

Gilbride also addressed the issue of former Giants Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs sharing information about the team's offense with their new team. He seemed to invite the 49ers to guess at what the Giants might be trying to do.

"Most of our big plays take advantage of situations where guys are trying to overplay or cheat on a route. That's when our big plays happen," Gilbride said. "It really doesn't matter what you do, if we're doing it well enough, we're going to have a chance to get open. It still comes down to are you good enough to beat a defender and are you good enough up front to provide sufficient time for the quarterback to make those decisions, to sit and see who's open."