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No one's ignoring Cruz now

Victor Cruz #80 of the NY Giants celebrates

Victor Cruz #80 of the NY Giants celebrates after defeating the Dallas Cowboys. (Getty) Photo Credit: Victor Cruz #80 of the NY Giants celebrates after defeating the Dallas Cowboys. (Getty)

Victor Cruz knows he's mostly responsible for that target on his back.

When you're good, people take notice. And just about every cornerback and safety in the NFL has observed the slot receiver's moves -- on the field and in the end zone.

That's why Cruz didn't waste time getting into a tit-for-tat with Atlanta receiver Roddy White, who said the Giants' newfound playmaker is in for a "rude awakening" when teams start game-planning for him next year.

"I don't feel any type of way about it," said Cruz, who has 82 receptions for a franchise-record 1,536 yards. "He could say whatever he wants to say."

White does, however, have a point. Opponents have been throwing more double-coverage Cruz's way, starting in Week 14 with the Cowboys.

"They were putting two guys in like a punt coverage against Victor," Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said after his team's 37-34 victory at Cowboys Stadium. "And we couldn't win with Victor so we had to win somewhere else."

Cruz said teams have started putting another defender in his area to "knock me off some routes," but he's nevertheless excited to see what the Falcons have in store for him in Sunday's NFC wild-card game.

Opponents finally caught on to Cruz's natural ability in the open field, albeit 13 weeks too late. He not only broke the Giants' single-season record for receiving yardage but set a team record with a 99-yard touchdown catch against the Jets.

"I knew he was a star two years ago against the Jets in preseason,"Tom Coughlin joked, referring to his three touchdowns in 2010. "He starts making plays and he just kept making them. He's just gotten better and better. It's a pretty good story."

But extra defenders aren't the only attention Cruz has drawn. His "Silk City Salsa Dance" in the end zone has been mimicked by players around the NFL, much to the irritation of Brandon Jacobs.

"Everyone who tries to do it, they make a fool of themselves," he said, referencing the 49ers' Carlos Rogers and the Cowboys' Dez Bryant and Laurent Robinson. "[They have] long strides, their hips barely move. They don't do it right. They look like amateurs when they do it. They look like they have broken ankles and their knees are confused."

But as the adage goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. "It's cool, man," Cruz said of teams challenging him on and off the field.

"All the good things that I've been doing," he said, have put him in a position to be targeted.

"As long as we're winning games, doing all the right things," said Cruz, "they could say whatever they want."

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