The forward progress of Victor Cruz slowed a bit yesterday, but Ben McAdoo said it’s all part of the plan to get the receiver ready for the upcoming season.

“We dialed back his load today,” McAdoo said after Cruz participated in the workout but was not involved in all of the drills, as he had been during the first two practices of training camp. “He did work, he finished practice and he got the number of reps we were looking for him to get today. That’s part of the structure.”

It’s the first time the Giants have pulled the reins on Cruz this camp as he attempts to return from a calf injury that cost him the entire 2015 season and a torn patellar tendon that sidelined him for most of 2014. The Giants remain exceedingly optimistic that Cruz will be able to play this season.

“I’m pulling for him,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to get across that mental hurdle. I think physically he’s fine, but it’s a mental hurdle . . . We’re hoping for the best, and I believe he’ll make it. I really do. I believe he’ll make it and be a contributor.”

Eli, JPP catch Reese’s eye

Reese also has been impressed by the two other players who were key members of the Giants’ last Super Bowl-winning team: Eli Manning and Jason Pierre-Paul.

Reese said the Giants have high expectations for Manning. “He is still a really good football player in this league and we are on his back,” he said. “I think he is up to the challenge.”

As for Pierre-Paul, Reese said he looks like “a beast” so far in camp. “His motor is running hot,” he said. “You talk about a guy that looks like he is on a mission? He looks like he is on a mission to me . . . Obviously, his hand situation is something that has healed with more time and he learned how to use it better and I expect him to be a load.”

Those weren’t the only players Reese is keen on, though.

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“I think we have a really good football team,” he said. “We are very optimistic about our football team. We think we have upgraded, we like our coaching staff, we like the direction that Ben is taking us right now, and we are excited about it.”

Giant steps

Wide receiver Myles White caught a deep pass over Janoris Jenkins on the first snap after stepping in for the injured Odell Beckham Jr. with the starters. “Myles is having a nice camp,” McAdoo said. “Myles is poised to make a run.” . . . Defensive back Leon McFadden made a nice interception for the second string; Roger Lewis caught a fade from Manning for a touchdown in the red zone . . . McAdoo said it’s possible one or some of the players on PUP — defensive tackle Damon Harrison, linebacker J.T. Thomas and defensive tackle Jay Bromley — could be back in action when the team returns to practice Tuesday.