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

Sean LeeOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee (concussion) is feeling better but will have to pass all of his concussion tests before he is cleared to play again, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

Lance DunbarOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar (knee) will miss the rest of the 2015 season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in Week 4. He scheduled [ More ]

Ronnie BrownOct 5 05:32p

Free-agent RB Ronnie Brown (Chargers) re-signed with the San Diego Chargers Monday, Oct. 5, according to a source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Andrew LuckOct 5 05:12p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is expected to play in the Week 5 game against the Houston Texans Thursday, Oct. 8. Luck has a slightly separated throwing shoulder [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsOct 5 04:42p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins' (calf) status for the Week 5 game against the Tennessee Titans is uncertain at this point, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'He looked [ More ]

Jordan ReedOct 5 04:42p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed's (concussion, knee, ankle) head injury is a real concern, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Reed has a long history of head injuries dating [ More ]

Daniel FellsOct 5 04:42p

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (ankle) was placed on the season-ending Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct. 5, due to a staph infection in his ankle. TE Will Tye was [ More ]

Antonio GatesOct 5 04:22p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates is in great shape and will be play in the Week 5 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to head coach Mike McCoy.

Ryan MallettOct 5 02:42p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett will be the starting quarterback for the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts Thursday, Oct. 8, according to head coach Bill O'Brien.

Christine MichaelOct 5 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Christine Michael will have a role in the offense, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones, with RB Lance Dunbar (knee) possibly out for the rest [ More ]

Dez BryantOct 5 02:32p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (foot) could return after the Cowboys' Week 6 bye, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. Bryant recently had a positive examination of the [ More ]

Cecil Shorts IIIOct 5 02:12p

Houston Texans WR Cecil Shorts (shoulder) is considered doubtful for the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts because of the dislocated shoulder he suffered in Week 4.

Alec OgletreeOct 5 02:12p

St. Louis Rams LB Alec Ogletree (ankle) will need surgery on his ankle, according to head coach Jeff Fisher. Ogletree is a candidate to be placed on the short-term Reserve/Injured list.

Dan CampbellOct 5 01:52p

Miami Dolphins tight ends coach Dan Campbell was named the team's interim head coach Monday, Oct. 5.

Julius ThomasOct 5 01:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (hand) is scheduled to meet with a doctor Monday, Oct. 5, and may be cleared for full practice after the meeting. His status for [ More ]

Caleb SturgisOct 5 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles PK Caleb Sturgis will remain the team's kicker for the time being, according to head coach Chip Kelly.

Will MontgomeryOct 5 01:22p

Chicago Bears C Will Montgomery (leg) will miss the remainder of the 2015 season after he suffered a fractured tibia during the team's Week 4 game. He will need [ More ]

Josh JohnsonOct 5 01:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Josh Johnson was released Monday, Oct. 5.

Colin KaepernickOct 5 01:02p

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick was 13-for-25 for just 160 yards and an interception in the Week 4 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He also ran for 57 yards on 10 carries.

Kyle BrindzaOct 5 12:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Kyle Brindza was released Monday, Oct. 5, after missing seven kicks in the last two weeks.

Joe PhilbinOct 5 11:52a

Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was fired Monday, Oct. 5, according to Sun-Sentinel.

Willie SneadOct 5 11:02a

New Orleans Saints WR Willie Snead played 48 snaps (66% of the offense) Sunday, Oct. 4, in Week 4, while WR Brandon Coleman played just 19 for 26% of the offense.

Andrew LuckOct 5 10:12a

Updating an earlier report, Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is expected by the team to be under center Thursday, Oct. 8, against the Houston Texans. His shoulder injury [ More ]

Daniel FellsOct 5 09:52a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (foot) had an unexpected foot surgery and is likely headed to Injured Reserve, according to sources.

Jordan ReedOct 5 09:42a

Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion) was diagnosed with a concussion Sunday, Oct. 4.

Andrew LuckOct 5 08:52a

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) has a short week to prepare for Week 5, but he's trending toward being ready Thursday, Oct. 8, against the Houston Texans. 'He [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayOct 5 08:42a

Philadelphia Eagles RB DeMarco Murray said he's not getting enough touches in the offense Sunday, Oct. 4. 'No, I'm not,' Murray said. 'I don't think I am. It's how [ More ]

C.J. SpillerOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller carried just twice for 10 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys, but he had an 80-yard touchdown catch and [ More ]

Willie SneadOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints WR Willie Snead posted six receptions for 89 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Mark IngramOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram carried 17 times for 77 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys. He also added six receptions for 51 yards [ More ]

Drew BreesOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (shoulder) completed 33 of his 41 pass attempts for 359 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. His 80-yard touchdown pass to RB C.J. [ More ]

Brandon WeedenOct 5 01:12a

Dallas Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden completed 16 of his 26 pass attempts for 246 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the Week 4 overtime loss against the New [ More ]

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