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Stokley gone as Cruz flourishes

Victor Cruz scores a touchdown against Jarrad Page

Victor Cruz scores a touchdown against Jarrad Page #41 of the Philadelphia Eagles and Nnamdi Asomugha #24 during the fourth quarter. (Sept. 25, 2011) Photo Credit: Getty Images

First Victor Cruz made Brandon Stokley a necessity. Now he’s made him expendable.

When the Giants brought Stokley in, it was to give them some veteran experience at the slot position. They had tried Victor Cruz there during the preseason and things just didn’t seem to be working out.

“We think that Victor Cruz and (Jerrel) Jernigan have some ability and eventually will be the experienced player that can utilize the physical skills they have and the pass catching skills that they have,” offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said when the Giants signed Stokley after Week 1. “We are convinced that they have them, but there is so much that goes on at that spot and you have to have a feel for that because intellectually it is very challenging as well as physically. Right now, there is so much happening so fast that they are not playing at the speed and the confidence that they need to have. We feel that they will reach that level.”

It took less than a month. Cruz has become a solid receiver and a trusted target of Eli Manning’s. He’s not a star receiver, but he’s certainly a celebrity receiver. He made two big touchdown catches against the Eagles and was in the middle of the big ruling against the Cardinals.

That has allowed the Giants to terminate the contract of Stokley, who caught one pass for 7 yards in his Giants tenure. Stokley was also injured, which made his departure an easier decision. But the Giants might have held out a little longer for him had Cruz not developed the way he has over the last three games.

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