Remember what last season was like for Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz? Every time he caught a pass in front of the home crowd, MetLife Stadium would ring out with chants of “Cruuuuuuuuz.”
Unfortunately for Cruz, if he plays like he did in Week one, those chants will change from “Cruz” to “Boo.”
The Giants breakout star of the 2011 season struggled in the team’s first regular season game; a 24-17 loss to their rival the Dallas Cowboys. Cruz played more like the undrafted free agent that was stuck on the practice squad during his rookie season in 2010 than a stud receiver that came “Out of the Blue” last season.
Cruz’s numbers from the Dallas game were pretty atrocious. He finished the game with six catches and 58 yards but had three drops and did hear some boo’s from the home crowd. Cruz also had two crucial penalties including a false start and an illegal block in the back that halted two Giants drives.
Victor Cruz became a celebrity after last season but still needs to work on his concentration, as evident through his three drops on Wednesday night. PHOTO COURTESY: DAVID SHANKBONE/CREATIVE COMMONS
Cruz told the Daily News after the game that his performance was a “humble check” for him and his teammates.
Although it’s still the beginning of the season, a poor game like this can often get the wheels churning for rumors or speculation by the media, especially in New York. However let’s not count out the kid from Paterson just yet.
Let us not forget what Cruz did for the Giants last season as he burst onto the scene much like Tim Tebow or Jeremy Lin did for their team’s last season. Cruz set the Giants single season record in receiving yards with 1,536. He finished with 82 receptions and nine touchdowns including a 99-yard touchdown reception against the Jets in a game on Christmas Eve.
The bottom line is this: Victor Cruz is a talented player who possesses a skill set of a number one receiver. What everyone needs to understand is that he will NOT repeat his 2011 season, and how could he be expected to? If he was expected to be better than last season, he would be expected to set records every season.
The reality is that Cruz may not even be the number one receiver on the Giants. Hakeem Nicks can still be seen as the number one guy in New York, but he and Cruz make one of the best wide receiver tandems in the league.
Before everyone jumps off the Victor Cruz bandwagon, just know that he is still a young receiver who needs to work on things, just like everyone else in the NFL. Believe it or not, he makes mistakes like everyone else (although he often didn’t make them last season).
There are still positives to take out of his week one showing. Cruz was targeted 11 times and was open almost every time the ball was thrown his way. He is obviously still one of Eli Manning’s favorite targets so he will get plenty of time to redeem himself from the Dallas debacle.
The best thing for Cruz would be to get back in the end zone and start salsa dancing again. Nothing would make a Giants fan happier than to see that familiar scene.
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