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Victor Cruz giving Giants reasons to be excited

Victor Cruz of the Giants carries the ball

Victor Cruz of the Giants carries the ball during Giants practice at the Timex Performance Center in East Rutherford, N.J. on Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016. Credit: George McNish

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Giants players and coaches are trying to not get too excited about how good Victor Cruz looked on the practice field again on Wednesday.

They really are.

“There was the suddenness, the explosiveness, the things that I have in mind, visions of 2011 in terms of that type of quickness,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. “So obviously that is something to be excited about, and again, we’re just progressing and hoping for the best. We’re not trying to get overly excited or put too much pressure. Just taking it one day, one rep at a time. He’s certainly shown some flashes.”

Before you have visions of Cruz salsa dancing in the end zone during the season, first he has to make his preseason debut on Saturday against the Jets for what would be his first game action since Oct. 12, 2014.

After two straight days of practice after a groin injury, Cruz appears ready to take that step.

“Victor looked great,” Sullivan said. “He has had two strong days. Got a lot of balls thrown to him. I’m excited about where he is, and hopefully he will have his opportunity against the Jets.”

Cruz, who has not spoken publicly since returning to practice, has drawn praise from Odell Beckham Jr., who is likely dreaming of what Cruz’s presence could do for him. Same for running back Rashad Jennings.

“It is fun to see him out there,” Jennings said. “Eight-Oh is a guy you can’t replace. He brings a type of energy to the field that nobody else can. He is explosive, he is fast, he can catch, he does everything that you want from a receiving standpoint and he is a good leader, so having him back out there on the field is going to make a difference. He is a big part of this offense.”

Notes & quotes: First-round pick Eli Apple, who is returning from a knee injury, made an interception in the corner of the end zone. “It wasn’t too great because we got an offside called on us, so technically it wasn’t a pick,” Apple said. “It felt good being out there with my team and being able to make those plays.” . . . Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said the battle for the middle linebacker job between Kelvin Sheppard and Jasper Brinkley is “still neck-and-neck.” . . . Spagnuolo said he has no front-runner to replace safety Darian Thompson if he doesn’t come back quickly from his shoulder injury. “He’s done an outstanding job,” Spagnuolo said. “We need to get him back as quick as we can.” Nat Berhe, Justin Currie and Leon Hall took snaps at the spot . . . Sullivan said the team is not overly concerned about backup quarterback Ryan Nassib’s preseason struggles. “We’re not in a position where we’re panicked about him,” he said.


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