The last time he took the field against the Jets, Rex Ryan and his crew knew so little about Victor Cruz they thought he might be a quarterback liked up wide in a Wildcat formation. He wound up burning them for three touchdowns in that preseason game last summer, eliciting raves from the Jets’ staff and a spot on the Giants’ roster.
Now Cruz is ready to play against the team his favorite opponents once again. This time the Jets will know who he is. Another difference: he’s not competing for a roster spot as an undrafted free agent, but a place in the wide receiver rotation.
“I was a little bit on eggshells last year,” Cruz said. “Obviously, being a free agent, you don't know if you're going to make the team and every day is a struggle for you. Last year was a much harder year, emotionally, than this year.”
Cruz, who caught a 22-yard pass to convert a fourth down against the Bears but also got chewed out by offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on national television, said he is working on refining himself as an NFL receiver. That’s stressful, too.
“I always approach it that I have to make the 53,” he said. “This year is a little more attention to detail. It's a different kind of eggshells. They don't crack as hard.”