Asked if the Giants have the best receiving corps in the NFL, Victor Cruz game a simple answer.
“I believe so,” he said.
While they have yet to put up any monstrous numbers, they certainly do have the potential to. Odell Beckham Jr. is the established star, Cruz is coming back from his injury, and Sterling Shepard is the rookie.
“You’re not going to be able to do the doubling or the over the tops because then you’re susceptible to one-on-ones,” Beckham said. “Those are guys that I would take 9.99999 times out of 10. There may be something that happens, timing may be off and we may not get it right, but they’re going to win on man coverage. I’m going to try my best to win on man coverage. It’s just about being efficient. Being all on the same page.”
This may be the game when they prove it against an undermanned Saints secondary that lacks experience.
“I think we have all the talent, all the tools, but obviously it is going to take one week at a time,” Cruz said of the status of the receivers among the league’s elite. “These practices are important in being able to build our roles and continue to focus on what each and every one of us do exceptionally well and excel on that, but I do think we have the tools to be the best that we can possibly be.”
No fines for footwear
Beckham joked on Wednesday that the stodgy NFL will fine him for anything. “They’d fine me for smiling,” he said.
What they won’t fine him for is wearing his patriotic-themed cleats in Sunday’s opener against the Cowboys. Both Beckham and Cruz wore the decorated footwear to commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11, but the NFL did not levy any fines against them. Part of the reason may be that their cleats fit within the league’s guidelines for such displays — they’re lucky enough to play for a team whose color scheme included red, white and blue.
Cruz said he would have paid the fine if the league had imposed one.
“It was for a good cause,” he said.
Nat Berhe half expected to see a FedEx envelope containing a fine from the NFL in his locker on Wednesday for the hit he put on Ezekiel Elliott in Sunday’s game. “I came in and I was looking around,” he said. “I was like, ‘OK. All right. Thank God.’” Berhe played well and lived up to his nickname — The Missile — when he drilled Elliott while the Cowboys rookie was being stood up by Giants teammates. There was helmet-to-helmet contact on the hit, but no flag. And, so far, no fine. “I’m not really worried about that,” he said. “Just play and whatever happens happens. I’m not trying to hurt anybody, I’m just trying to strike you and get you on the ground.” . . . Only one Giants player appeared on the injury report: Defensive tackle Robert Thomas who has been dealing with an illness since last week . . . Ben McAdoo was unhappy with the energy of the early portion of Wednesday’s practice. “We didn’t start practice fast enough today,” he said. “We need to make a point in getting that right tomorrow.”