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Victor Cruz: Why Giants’ season went south in 2017

Victor Cruz answers questions from the media in

Victor Cruz answers questions from the media in the locker room at Giants Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Victor Cruz was not a member of the Giants in 2017, but he still has plenty of feelers inside the locker room. So what happened in 2017?

“The first thing that comes to mind is injuries,” he said Wednesday. “When you have that many injuries at all your skill positions, all your spots, it’s kind of hard to put gameplans together and hard to win and be successful. That’s a tough thing to go through for any organization, let alone the Giants. And then there were some decision-making things that obviously we weren’t all in agreement with, that left us scratching our heads a little bit, in terms of the benching of Eli (Manning) and things like that. Just a multitude of those things that kind of led to the year that the Giants had.”

Cruz’s last game for the Giants was the wildcard game against the Packers just over a year ago. Now they are coming off a 3-13 season with a new coach and general manager. If someone had told Cruz that last January, he said, he’d guffaw.

“I’d be like ‘Yeah, right,’” he said. “I’d think you were lying to me. But I guess that’s just the nature of the business, man, the nature of what the NFL is all about. One year you can be 11-5 and going to the playoffs ready to play Green Bay and the next year you can win one game or three games and try to figure out what’s happening for next year. That’s the nature of the business. It’s very much up and down that way.”

Cruz does not know much about new Giants coach Pat Shurmur first-hand.

“But from what I’ve heard, he’s a tremendous coach and I think he’s a great offensive mind,” Cruz said. “The receiving corps, and I know all those guys personally, will get to flourish. Obviously you’ve seen the Vikings offense and how they’ve been able to have a lot of success. You look at the receiving position, you hope that Brandon (Marshall) and everybody comes back fully healthy, and ready to go. You’ve got to expect them to do some really good things in the passing game, and as an offense as a whole in order to be successful. And I think Pat Shurmur has that ability, just given his history with the Vikings and other teams that he’s made look good with maybe not a lot of talent around them.”

The one thing the Giants do have is talent — especially at wide receiver — as long as Odell Beckham Jr. is healthy and able to play. He missed most of 2017 with a fractured ankle, but Cruz said he expects a big bounceback from his buddy.

“I expect great things,” he said. “I speak to him all the time. He’s doing great. Obviously he’s training again and feeling good. He’s got a lot of confidence, and I expect him to prove that he’s one of the best in the game.”

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