The New York Giants kicked off the start of 2016 training camp with the anticipated return of wide receiver Victor Cruz. Cruz has been injured for nearly two whole seasons, and a ton of doubt surrounds the 29 year old. Cruz, who completed his first full practice in nearly a year, gave the media some insight as to how the first practice went.
Cruz, being absent from gameplay and even much of team activities for almost the past two years, needs to rebuild his chemistry with quarterback Eli Manning. Cruz and Manning has an unbreakable chemistry, leading the Giants to the franchise's fourth Super Bowl win back in 2011. Cruz told the media how he can develop chemistry with Manning again after missing much of the past two seasons.
“It’s just reps,” Cruz stated. “Not only the reps but obviously training camp, they are kind of limited but just picking his brain after each rep and after each play, talking to him just to see what he sees and trying to stay on the same page and pick his brain on how he likes things run and how to retool my mind on how it once was, but for Eli and I, we’ve been together long enough where we understand how to play the game and how he wants it done. I’m a pretty coachable guy, so we can go back and fourth.”
Cruz doesn’t have a doubt in his mind that he will be able to completely rebuild the chemistry he and Manning once had, which will have an extremely positive benefit on the Giants this upcoming season.
Having Cruz, Odell Beckham Jr., Dwayne Harris, and rookie receiver Sterling Shepard, the Giants wide receiver core has been the talk of the offseason. Cruz gave his simple thoughts on how he views the Giants receiving corps.
“Pretty elite. I feel that, at least on paper right now, that we have all the tools and all the expectations to be great, but obviously we have to put it together on the field,” Cruz noted. “We have to do it physically and not just talk about it. I think right now we definitely have the tools to do some pretty amazing things.”
For the Giants, hopefully Cruz is correct in calling the Giants receiving core “elite”. With Manning heading into the backend of his legendary career, an elite-receiving core is key.
Cruz and Beckham Jr share a bond both on and off of the football field. Cruz has been a mentor to the young Beckham Jr these past two years. Referring to Beckham Jr as a player, Cruz said, “[He needs to] just understand that he’s going to be pulled and tugged just like we all are to do a bunch of things, but he has to be smart and understand that it’s okay to say no sometimes, whether on or off the field, to these obligations and understand what his priorities are. I think he understands that and he’s becoming slowly but surely a professional in understanding the rights and wrongs of this game and the rights and wrongs of his craft. He knows [that he is a target]. I think he understands that, so he just has to understand how to combat that, how to talk to you guys, how to talk to people out in the streets because anything he says is going to be used as a headline, so he has to understand not just what he says but how he says it and who he says it to and understanding what he says can be used as a headline at any given moment.” With all the success Beckham Jr has had comes an extreme level of fame. Cruz seems confidant Beckham Jr knows how to deal with that fame.
After rehabbing for the past two years, Cruz is ready to return to the elite receiver he once was. The anticipated return of Victor Cruz makes for a very exciting training camp, and most importantly, high expectations for the upcoming season.