Nothing seems to manufacture a good story in the NFL like the “diva wide receiver” angle. Growing up watching football in the early 2000’s nothing was more apparent, whether it was the coverage of Randy Moss between sulking and the spectacular, the Terrell Owens sideshow or the eccentricity of Chad Johnson. The football media must be missing such controversial talents, because it seems a receiver cannot make a comment about his lack of production in an offense without having to hear Keyshawn Johnson rewinds. The Giants’ Victor Cruz is the latest victim.
Speaking with reporters this week, Cruz insisted that his comments about wanting the ball were misconstrued by the media.
“[The media] just did a good job of transferring my words over to saying that I wanted the damn ball and things like that,” noted Cruz. “That is all that was.”
Indeed, Cruz’s words from last week don’t come off as arrogant or “me-first”. The Giants were coming off an offensive debacle in Week 1, and Cruz simply had stated what others were thinking. The story should not be whether or not Cruz should have the ball thrown his way more, because the answer seems obvious. The Giants’ top wide receiver stating such an obvious thing should not be seen as arrogant, but a player analyzing prominent issues with the offense.
The problem was, of course, that Cruz did see more targets against the Cardinals last Sunday and his performance has been under much scrutiny. Cruz caught five balls for 60 yards and also forced a defensive pass interference call from Patrick Peterson that set the Giants up on the 1-yard line for a go-ahead score, but what everyone remembers most is his play after. Manning found Cruz on a 3rd down play on the following drive with a perfect throw, but Cruz mishandled the pass and the Giants had to punt. A play later, the Cardinals took the lead courtesy of Ted Ginn’s spectacular punt return. On the offense’s last real possession, Manning hit Cruz two more times for two more drops.
Being an integral part of the Giants’ offense, Cruz is expected to see many more targets, but if Big Blue's new-look offense continues to sputter, No.80's demand for more targets could be an ongoing theme this season.