2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Despite offensive woes, Cruz producing for Giants

By TOM CANAVAN - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-02 15:56

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Victor Cruz is beating the odds again.

Despite missing offseason workouts because of contract talks and sitting out the final two-plus weeks of training camp with a bruised heel, Cruz is among the NFL's top receivers for the winless Giants.

The salsa-dancing former free agent who earned his first Pro Bowl nod last season has 26 catches for 425 yards and four touchdowns. The reception total is tied for 10th in the league. The yardage total is fourth overall and his 24 points are tied for sixth among non-kickers.

``He's playing as well as we've seen him play,'' coach Tom Coughlin said. ``Thank God for it.''

What makes those statistics even more impressive is that Cruz is playing with an offense that has scored seven touchdowns in four games. He has been the constant with a group that can't run the ball or protect quarterback Eli Manning.

``I am just going out there playing,'' Cruz said. ``I am going out there, doing what is asked of me, running my plays, getting myself open. That's all I can do. It just so happens a lot of success has come my way and I have been catching the ball and making plays, and doing things like that. That's all I can speak for. I don't know why that is. I'm just doing my job.''

Coming into this season, there were a lot of questions concerning the 26-year-old Cruz, who grew up in nearby Paterson. No one questioned his ability. An undrafted free agent out of Massachusetts in 2010, he's been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL. Over the last two seasons, he has 168 receptions for 1,628 yards and 19 touchdowns.

The concerns this year: the contract. Cruz did not work out with the team in the offseason. He signed a five-year, $43 million extension in July. Then he hurt his left heel against Indianapolis on Aug. 18.

Early on, it's obviously the contract hasn't changed Cruz.

``Victor gives 100 percent every play in practice,'' Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara said. ``He really gets mad if he drops a ball, which rarely happens. He is always going full speed. It seems it's the only speed Victor has.''

Cruz believes he is playing well, noting that he is recognizing blitzes, understands the offensive and knows how to play the game. His critique of himself: He needs to improve his blocking.

``I am not thinking about contracts. I don't think about money. I don't think about anything when I am out there playing,'' he said. ``I just think about going out there and perform. I am just happy I am continuing to be the same Victor I was a year ago and the year before that; still being someone held accountable for everything that he is doing, which is what they expect out of me and what Eli expects out of me. I am just happy I am continuing to be a playmaker for my team.''

Cruz has had three 100-yard games this season, including a season-high 164 against the Chiefs last weekend, when he had a 69-yard catch and run for a touchdown. He also showed his frustration after the game, criticizing a decision by Coughlin not to go for a first down with New York down 10-7 and faced with fourth and less than a yard at its 30.

Coughlin punted and the Chiefs broke open the game on an 89-yard return for a TD by Dexter McCluster.

Cruz refused to talk about the incident Wednesday, saying he was looking forward to playing the Eagles (1-3) on Sunday.

Opponents have been employing special coverages for Cruz or trying to get a second defender to help out. However, it also creates some scenarios Cruz can take advantage of, like Sunday when the Chiefs used single coverage on his long TD.

Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas said Cruz needs to do more, and the offense should just continue to feed him the ball.

``He is not explosive fast, and not just really strong,' Thomas said of Cruz. ``I think he and Eli have a good understanding of raw concepts and reads. When you are in the slot and covering someone who can go either way, it makes it somewhat impossible at times to cover him.''

NOTES: C David Baas (neck) and G Chris Snee (hip) have not improved. G-T David Diehl looks like he could be ready to return from a broken thumb this weekend. ... MLB Mark Herzlich (toe), DT Cullen Jenkins (knee-Achilles tendon), DT Linval Joseph (ankle-knee) , DT Shaun Rogers (back), CB Aaron Rogers (back) and CB Jaron Hosley (hamstring) didn't practice Wednesday. ...CB Corey Webster returned to practice on a limited basis after missing the last two games. ...DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) practiced fully and said he would play Sunday.

----

AP NFL website: -www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Connor BarthAug 26 08:53p

Free-agent PK Connor Barth (Broncos) agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Aug. 26, on a two-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Brandon McManusAug 26 10:33a

Denver Broncos PK Brandon McManus won the kicking job as PK Connor Barth was released Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Connor BarthAug 26 10:33a

Denver Broncos PK Brandon McManus won the kicking job as PK Connor Barth was released Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Evan RoysterAug 26 10:13a

Atlanta Falcons RB Evan Royster (undisclosed) was waived/injured Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Rex GrossmanAug 26 09:23a

Free-agent QB Rex Grossman (Redskins) was signed by the Atlanta Falcons to a one-year, $1 million deal Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Taylor MaysAug 26 12:43a

The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent SS Taylor Mays (Bengals) Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Orlando ScandrickAug 26 12:43a

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee Tuesday, Aug. 25. An MRI confirmed the injury.

Michael VickAug 25 07:42p

Updating a previous report, free-agent QB Michael Vick (Jets) signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Tuesday, Aug. 25. Financial terms were not disclosed. QB Bruce Gradkowski (finger) [ More ]

Evan MathisAug 25 06:13p

Free-agent OG Evan Mathis (Eagles) agreed to a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Jameis WinstonAug 25 04:33p

Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie QB Jameis Winston (ankle) suffered a sprained ankle Monday, Aug. 24, against the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Lovie Smith still expects [ More ]

Josh JohnsonAug 25 02:53p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Josh Johnson was released Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Victor CruzAug 25 02:42p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (calf) doesn't know when he'll be able to return to practice as he continues to deal with inflammation in [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerAug 25 01:23p

Tennessee Titans backup QB Zach Mettenberger has performed at a high level in training camp and the preseason, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt laughed off a suggestion that the [ More ]

Bruce GradkowskiAug 25 12:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers backup QB Bruce Gradkowski (finger) suffered a dislocated finger on his left hand during the team's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers last weekend, according to [ More ]

Andre WilliamsAug 25 12:22p

New York Giants RB Andre Williams could overtake RB Rashad Jennings as the lead back sometime this season, maybe even to open the season. Williams has worked on his [ More ]

Mike EvansAug 25 09:13a

Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) isn't believed to have a serious hamstring injury. 'I talked to him and he didn't feel like it [ More ]

Jameis WinstonAug 24 11:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston completed eight of his 13 pass attempts for 90 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in the preseason game Monday, Aug. 24, against [ More ]

Doug MartinAug 24 11:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin rushed six times for 59 yards in the preseason game Monday, Aug. 24, against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Mike EvansAug 24 09:12p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) left the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals Monday, Aug. 24, due to a strained hamstring.

Todd GurleyAug 24 06:52p

St. Louis Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) will still sit out the entire preseason even though he has been cleared to practice, according to head coach Jeff Fisher.

Jordy NelsonAug 24 06:32p

Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (knee) has a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but the MRI revealed all of his other knee ligaments are fine.

Montee BallAug 24 05:22p

Denver Broncos RB Montee Ball has already lost the backup running back role to RB Ronnie Hillman. RB Juwan Thompson may also surpass Ball in the near future, according to Mike Klis of 9news.com.

Jordy NelsonAug 24 05:22p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (knee) is officially out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Jason McCourtyAug 24 04:42p

Updating a previous report, Tennessee Titans CB Jason McCourty (groin) is expected to miss a few games after undergoing groin surgery Monday, Aug. 24, according to sources.

Ronnie HillmanAug 24 04:32p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman has worked his way the second running back position behind RB C.J. Anderson. Hillman said head coach Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme has helped his [ More ]

Joique BellAug 24 04:02p

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford said the Lions will still take a committee approach at running back even when Joique Bell (knee, Achilles') returns.

Joique BellAug 24 03:02p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (knee, Achilles') is expected to return this season as a bellcow running back, according to head coach Jim Caldwell. Bell has been nursing injuries [ More ]

Maurkice PounceyAug 24 01:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) will undergo surgery on his fractured ankle Monday, Aug. 24, or Tuesday, Aug. 25. There is no timetable for his return, but it [ More ]

Jeremiah RatliffAug 24 01:42p

Chicago Bears DT Jeremiah Ratliff has been suspended three games by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Jason Pierre-PaulAug 24 01:42p

New York Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) plans to report to the team before the start of the regular season but his status for Week 1 is uncertain, according [ More ]

Reggie WayneAug 24 01:22p

Free-agent WR Reggie Wayne (Colts) agreed to a one-year deal with the New England Patriots Monday, Aug. 24, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Michael PrestonAug 24 10:22a

Miami Dolphins WR Michael Preston posted on Twitter that he was released Sunday, Aug. 23.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group