Eli Manning did not know what he could expect from Victor Cruz when the Giants began training camp a week ago. So far, it's been a pleasant surprise.
"I think he's looked great out there," Manning said on Thursday morning. "He's been out there a bunch, he seems to be feeling good and running his routes the normal way, getting in and out of breaks. I'm excited to see that."
That's not to say he and Cruz were able to pick up right where they left off. They hadn't really worked together for almost 10 months, at least not in a team setting at close-to-full speed. And during that time Cruz was recovering from a torn patellar tendon the offensive playbook evolved without him.
"I think it still takes time," Manning said of completely recapturing the connection. "Obviously it's not new for him, but it's still a fairly new offense with some different routes and different combinations. I think he's still trying to get back in the flow of things. It's been a while since he's run routes out there on the field seeing things. I think he's looked good. I missed him yesterday on a route, but we're getting very close."
Not only has Manning had Cruz at his disposal throughout camp - Cruz has not missed a practice yet even while his reps may be monitored and limited - he's also had Odell Beckham Jr. This is the longest stretch of time that Manning has ever practiced with Beckham, who did not complete a training camp practice last year. Beckham missed most of this spring with a hamstring issue.
"I was thinking Odell would be back and he's looked fresh and looked good out there as well," Manning said. "There was probably a little bit more of a question about Victor just coming off the injury and he didn't do much in the spring. I didn't know how it would feel and how it would look. ... I think those guys, as far as I can tell, feel good and look good."