Correlating with the consecutive wins is Victor Cruz’s presence in the offense. With two straight 100 yard games, Cruz has become a symbol of the team’s success, and the stir that straws the Giants’ aerial attack. Cruz’s success should be no surprise to anyone that understands the concept of new offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo’s West Coast Offense.
The West Coast Offense is primarily based off of the Quarterback making quick reads and the receiver gaining his yardage after the catch, rather than through the air. It is typically a match made in heaven for more explosive and shifty wide receivers, and it just so happens that Cruz is one of the most dynamic receivers in football, especially after the catch.
So far this season, McAdoo has used Cruz to the best of the team’s advantage, with the Massachusetts product gaining 112 yards after the catch, which ranks him fifth out of all receivers in the NFL today. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for Cruz, Eli, and the G-Men, however. After the first two weeks of the 2014 season, the Giants were 0-2, and Cruz was leading the NFL in dropped passes. After his putrid start with the team this season, Cruz is still leading the NFL in dropped balls with 5, and has a 15% drop percentage.
However, this is Cruz’s first season in a West Coast offense, so the routes and overall play style is extremely different from his entire tenure with the Giants. Former Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride ran an offense that was based off the vertical passing game downfield.
Today, McAdoo and company use Cruz’s skills to get him open and gain yards after the catch. The entire offense is still a work in progress, so it’s very understandable that the team struggled as a unit the first two weeks. Looking at the progress that Manning and Cruz have made together, it only bodes well for the future of the club. With Cruz’s consecutive 100 yard games, it is worth noting that he is just beginning to become comfortable with the offense, and only better things are to come.
Remember Giant fans, this is a new offense for a core that has played their entire career with a completely different system. Patience is a virtue right now, and with the back to back wins, it should be a sign of encouragement of better things to come.