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Victor Cruz can relate to David Wilson's situation

Victor Cruz looks on during a game against

Victor Cruz looks on during a game against the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Aug. 18, 2013) Credit: Mike Stobe

It's a familiar tale for the Giants.

They part ways with an established player because of injuries and hand an important job to a second-year player who flashed some lightning bolts as a rookie but has little true experience. The young player is given a big opportunity in the opening game of the season and blows it. The ball winds up on the ground instead of in his hands. Fans and media react with hysteria. The team sends out the call for veterans to come in and possibly replace this young offensive weapon.

That's what's happening to David Wilson this week, but just two years ago at this time it was happening to Victor Cruz. So while many teammates will offer advice or wisdom to Wilson when the team returns to practice on Wednesday, perhaps the one who can truly empathize with Wilson is Cruz.

"It's eerily similar," Cruz told Newsday of their experiences. "It's kind of the same exact situation I had where I dropped a pass and they were looking for someone for that position, to fill that void at the time. I didn't get the job done, I wasn't getting the job done."

Cruz's chance came on a third-down pass against the Redskins in the 2011 opener. He was replacing the popular Steve Smith as slot receiver and the first chance he had to make an impression he turned his head up the field too quickly, lost track of his fundamentals, and the ball slipped through his hands. A few days later, receiver Brandon Stokley was on the roster.

"They brought people in and it did nothing but fuel me," Cruz said. "It fueled me to do better, it fueled me to prove them wrong that I was the guy they were looking for. I feel like Dave is in the same position. He understands that. He's a smart kid. He understands that we're going to need him to win ballgames and he's got to straighten these things out. It'll be good for him."

Cruz spoke on Tuesday in Manhattan where he was honored by Points of Light. He was named a Daily Point of Light for his volunteer work in the community, but he can also become a beacon for Wilson to follow. He said he has not yet relayed the similarities to Wilson, but will likely do so on Wednesday in person rather than over the phone Tuesday on the players' day off.

Wilson fumbled twice in the opening night loss to the Cowboys and was benched for most of the second half. The Giants had several workouts already planned for veteran running backs Tuesday - they are looking to add depth with the injury to Andre Brown - but those took on added urgency in the wake of Wilson's troubles.

The one place where Wilson's and Cruz' stories diverge is here: Cruz was an undrafted player and had Stokley and Mario Manningham not gotten injured, he might not have had a second opportunity. Wilson is a first-round draft pick and even if he isn't starting against the Broncos on Sunday - Tom Coughlin has yet to make that clear - he'll be back on the field at some point.

"He's got a little bit more of a window of opportunity than I did, but it's kind of the same situation," Cruz said. "He understands that he has to do better moving forward, and I think he will."

Of course Cruz thinks he will. That's how his own story ended, after all.

New York Sports