Because of the emergence of Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz had been relegated to an afterthought. The explosiveness and subsequent salsa dance has not been seen since early in the 2014 season. Cruz missed the final 10 games of that season after suffering a torn patellar tendon against the Eagles, and then missed the entire 2015 season due to a left calf injury.
Now Cruz is in camp and his mind is on running routes, not worrying about past injuries. “No, I can’t be – I can’t think about that stuff,” Cruz said. “I have to trust my body and trust that the work I’ve put in has paid off, and I just want to go out there and just run and not think about it or anything like that, because that’s when bad things happen.”
Cruz spoke of what he’s trying to accomplish in minicamp. “Just run every route the way you know how to do it,” Cruz said. “Run every drill the way you know how to do it. Catch every ball and pay attention in every period, and get the mental reps even though you might not be doing as much physically.”
Ben McAdoo was happy with how Cruz looked. “He ran a couple routes versus air, versus man to man, stuck his foot in the ground and looked like he could get some separation,” McAdoo said. The new head coach was still the offensive coordinator in 2014 when Cruz was injured in the sixth game of the season. McAdoo did get a good look at Giants receivers when New York ended Green Bay’s season in the 2011 playoffs, when McAdoo was the tight ends coach.
Eli Manning, who threw 35 touchdowns last season without Cruz, is looking forward to getting one of his best receivers back on the field. “I’m just excited for him, excited for him to get back out there, and I know he has had a long journey and just keep waiting for him to get on the field, get back into action and catching touchdowns again,” Manning said.
The season opener is less than three months away, and if Cruz is playing it will be the first time he’ll be seen in a regular season game since he was lying in the end zone in Philadelphia. “You know, it’s been a long road – him and I talk about it every single day,” Beckham Jr. “There is nobody who wants it more than him. At the end of the day, this is what we’ve been doing since we were little. Nobody wants to stop now, and I know he’s got that chip on his shoulder.”
This wide receiving unit looks to be the most dynamic since the Cruz/Mario Manningham/Hakeem Nicks crew from five years ago. “Yeah, you get excited with the more weapons that you have and versatile guys, which those three guys are,” Manning said. “You can move them around and put them in different spots, so I am excited for Sterling coming around and starting to make some plays. It will be good to get Victor back in the mix, obviously, for training camp, having him back out there making plays and seeing how he can help us out.”