Ladies and gentlemen of the media, Victor Cruz is at the podium.
Yes, that’s right. Victor Cruz, the undrafted rookie receiver out of UMass and a product of Paterson, NJ, was surrounded by the full weight of the New York media (at least the segment of it not covering the Yankees or Jets) for his first big interview session. He confidently stepped up on the box in front of the Giants’ logo-splattered backdrop – a place normally reserved for the Eli Mannings and Justin Tucks of the team -- and answered questions.
One of the first for him was: Do you know why you are here?
It was because Tom Coughlin made an off-handed remark about him in his own news conference just a few minutes earlier. Asked about the availability of Steve Smith and Sinorice Moss and other receivers who have been limited in recent practices, Coughlin chortled.
"Victor Cruz!” he said excitedly. “What do we need anybody for? We've got Victor Cruz!”
Cruz’s best catch of the day wasn’t really a catch at all. He made a one-handed grab on a fade route in the corner of the end zone but came down out of bounds. He thought he was in but the Giants use orange cones to move the end zone up 5 yards to avoid injuries running into things behind the real end zone. An NFL official was on the spot to signal that he was out of bounds.
“Out of bounds! Out of bounds!” yelled Corey Webster from the sideline. “No catch! Just a long foul ball!”
(On the next play, a fade to Derek Hagan in roughly the same spot, Hagan tried to jump for the pass but couldn’t get a hand on it and Terrell Thomas chided him “Number 3 makes that catch!”)
Still, Cruz said it’s nice to get noticed even if he was out of bounds.
“It feels good just to get in there and get some reps,” he said. “Some of the guys are hurt, so I’m just filling in and trying to get the plays down pat and play my role a little bit.”