41° Good Evening
41° Good Evening

Now it counts for new offense as Giants open at Lions on Monday Night Football

Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz celebrates a penalty

Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz celebrates a penalty for defensive pass interference on theJets during a preseason game at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 22, 2014. Credit: Getty Images / Rich Schultz

Victor Cruz already has forgotten.

"What preseason?" he said with a sneaky grin before the Giants left for Detroit last week. "I'm not sure I know what you're talking about."

The hope for the Giants is that after Monday night, their preseason games will become even more irrelevant and inconsequential and -- yes, Victor -- more forgettable than they already are.

If the Giants can take the field in their regular-season opener against the Lions and put up points and sustain drives, the last seven weeks will be nothing but a foggy dream.

And if they can't, the nightmare will continue.

Cruz and his teammates are thinking positively as they prepare to trot out Ben McAdoo's West Coast-inspired offense for the first time in a full game that actually counts.

"I'm just excited to get going," Cruz said. "I'm excited to get a full four quarters under my belt. I'm excited to go out there and put our offense to the test. Put ourselves in third-down situations where we have to convert. You know, challenge ourselves a little bit and see ourselves come through, which is the biggest key, and I am excited for it. I am excited for our entire team. I am excited for our offense to see what we are really capable of."

At the beginning of training camp, running back Rashad Jennings compared adjusting to the new offense to looking at a ceiling fan. If you stare long and hard enough, he reasoned, you get to the point where you no longer see a blur but can focus on individual blades.

With the preseason over and the regular season beginning, Jennings offered a new analogy.

"Now we're all looking at it like we're all in the kitchen and we're chefs," he said. "As long as we're looking at the same cookbook on the same page and all using the ingredients as we need to, I think we're going to pull something nice out of the oven. That's where this offense is at."

Jennings said he feels as though the unit is jelling and noted that at the point that he was speaking, there still were a few days left to study more video and work out some wrinkles. But as far as knowing the offense, he said he's confident that the blur is gone.

"We found the fan a while back," he said. "Now we're cooking."

The Giants still expect it to take a while before the offense is really humming. It will be a work in progress for most of the season, but the plan is to have it functional during those growing pains. Not being limited by snap counts, as they were in those preseason games, will help.

"We can get into a groove," Cruz said. "Mentally, it's something that soothes us . . . Things are going to go astray, things are going to go wrong at times, but we have another series to come back and prove people wrong, so it will be fun."

Cruz said he was looking forward to flying to Detroit, not just for the game but to escape the endless questions about the offense. The Giants' preseason performance didn't help assuage those queries, but Cruz hopes that as he stands in front of his locker Monday night after the game, he can look at reporters and say the three greatest words anyone can ever say to a doubter: Told ya so.

"I'll be looking at you guys with a smile on my face after a nice victory," he imagined. "We'll see how it goes."

New York Sports