Victor Cruz may never have the kind of three-touchdown breakout performance he had in his first preseason opener in 2010, but Sunday's game against the Bills was about as far from that legendary start one can get. Cruz played about 15 snaps, caught zero passes and was targeted zero times by Eli Manning.
Told he did not do much in the game, Cruz smiled.
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"That's one way to put it," he said.
Another might be that the new West Coast offense won't be as receiver-friendly in application as some thought it would be in theory. Not only was Cruz blanked on Sunday, so was fellow starting receiver Rueben Randle. Wide receivers coach Sean Ryan said on Tuesday that those players absence from the stat sheet were "not intentional."
"It wasn't part of the plan," he said. "They'll be fine and they'll make plays. We're not worried about that. That wasn't the emphasis of the day."
But besides being a non-factor on Sunday, Cruz has been hard to spot throughout training camp as Eli Manning works on short, quick throws to running backs, tight ends and other underneath targets.
"I'm begging for more reps out here in practice, but coach is kind of pulling me back, just making sure I'm staying healthy and making sure we're good to go for the rest of preseason and into the regular season," Cruz said. "There are some plays that when I go in there, coach kind of circles them and knows that I can take advantage and if I get the ball, then so be it. But it's one thing at a time. We're definitely still installing a lot more plays as we go along here."
Another factor in Cruz's quiet summer could also be the improved secondary. Cruz said the Giants' cornerbacks "give me fits each and every day I'm here." Of course, on Sunday against the Bills he wasn't being covered by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Walter Thurmond III. Nor will he be this Saturday against the Steelers when he hopes to make his first catch in a game since last Dec. 15.
"You kind of just take what you can get," he said. "But there was some good stuff in those snaps [on Sunday] and it felt good to just face somebody else, run some routes against somebody else with that game type of intensity, that game type of feeling. So it felt good."