The time has finally come for all NFL fans as the start of the 2013 regular season is just a few days away. All 32 NFL teams will take the first step to making it to Super Bowl XLVIII in East Rutherford, N.J., at MetLife Stadium. The New York Giants will take their first step to try and become the first team to host a Super Bowl in their home stadium.
Heading into Sunday night's regular season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants received some great news today, with both Victor Cruz and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul returning to the practice field. Both JPP and Cruz are recovering from injuries and both look to be a lock to play against the Cowboys Sunday night.
One Giants player who happy to see Victor Cruz back is quarterback Eli Manning. Cruz for the past two seasons, has been one of Manning's favorite and most reliable targets at the wide receiver position. Cruz in fact last season was the Giants best receiver, leading the Giants in most receiving categories in 2012..
"It's good to have all your weapons out there and one of your top receivers, so it's good to get him back running around and I'm excited that he will be back for this opening game," admitted Manning.
Cruz, who is recovering from heel injury he sustained two weeks ago in a preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts, looked pretty good in practice according to his quarterback.
"Got a few routes to him," Manning said. "I didn't see anything, he looked sharp and looked like he had his full speed."
With Cruz back, Manning now has all his receiving weapons back and healthy for Dallas this week.
"it's hard not to be excited about it," said Manning of getting his weapons back. "Obviously they're [Dallas] a very good team with a new defensive coordinator, new defensive scheme, but they still have a lot of good players so we have to go in there and play our best football and see what they're going to do defensively. I'm sure they're going to have a few wrinkles that they haven't shown in preseason but we should be able to adapt to whatever they throw at us and be prepared and go out there and play well."
Manning, who hasn't lost yet at new mecca in Big D is eager to play once against at AT&T Stadium.
"We've had a couple good games down there but each year you've got to go in and have a great week of practice and preparation and just execute on game day," noted Manning. Hopefully we have the opportunities to hit some big plays and the timing, the play calling, all works out where we have an opportunity to hit some open guys and we can take advantage of it."
The big question now for the Giants, is what type of team will they be in 2013?
"You're going to have those games where everything goes great and you want those but sometimes we'll have a time where things aren't going so well for a little bit or you get off to a slow start," admitted Manning. "Can you bounce back and find a way to win those games when you're not playing your absolute best? That's what we've got to see about this team, how strong we are and how we're able to finish the fourth quarters of games and finish the season."
Manning knows exactly what his job will entail this season for the Giants to get back to the Super Bowl.
"I know I've got to play well if this offense is going to move the ball and, from throwing the ball to making good decisions, scoring touchdowns," Manning said.
At the end of the day, Manning understands he will need to be at his best in clutch situations late in the fourth quarter.
"You want the ball to be in your hands and whether you're winning or losing games, to have it be on how you perform," Manning said.