Eli Manning wanted to give Victor Cruz a chance to catch up.
Noting that a lot of last season's offense evolved after Cruz tore his patellar tendon in Week 6, Manning called Cruz to invite him to his annual three-day passing camp at Duke earlier this month. Even though Cruz was not able to run at full speed, it was important for him to get back into the system as it was when the team left off.
"Obviously we were doing some different things in those last 10 games than we were doing the first six before he got hurt," Manning said on a conference call on Monday. "Hearing the verbiage, seeing everything again, the ins and outs of the whole offense. He was able to spot up with some things, light jogging. I didn't want him to do anything that would cause setbacks. Just catching passes and hearing plays called and thinking about what he has to run."
Manning said there were times, too, when they would split up and only Giants players would work on their signals and checks.
"Just get the mind back in football and what this new offense is," Manning said.
Manning has rallied his receivers at Duke for several years now, and it has become a very important part of the offseason schedule. That's because even though the Giants reported for the first day of voluntary offseason workouts on Monday, they were not allowed to actually play any football. They are in Phase I of the CBA-outlined program which includes only strength and conditioning.
"Because of the rules it makes it hard to work with your guys," Manning said. "I think it's a little ridiculous at this level that that's the case, but those are the rules that we decided on and so we have to abide by them."
The Giants aren't the only ones who attend this minicamp at Duke. Broncos players too show up to work with Peyton Manning. David Cutcliffe, who was a college coach for both Mannings, is the head coach at Duke.
"This is a place, instead of trying to go to a local high school where you just don't know what the field conditions are or what the timing is and you don't have a chance to get in meeting rooms, it's a way to go and have three days where you have the facilities you need, you have the fields, the trainers, everything you would have at the Giants' facility we could do at Duke," he said. "It's a way to get a jump start of what we're about to get into at these OTAs."