Victor Cruz lone bright spot in Giants’ lousy offensive start

Victor Cruz
Victor Cruz is the only Giants player on offense to impress this season.
Credit: Getty Images

The Giants are winless, and with a tough schedule ahead it doesn’t look very promising. But there’s been at least one shining light in an otherwise dim season — wideout Victor Cruz.

So far this season, Cruz has lit up opponents to the tune of 26 receptions for 425 yards and four touchdowns. He’s been so dominant in the Giants’ offense that he has 10 catches, 195 yards and three touchdowns more than any of his teammates. And since he’s coming off a 10-catch, 164-yard and one-touchdown afternoon in an otherwise dismal blowout in Kansas City, he just may be the savior for Big Blue going forward.

“He’s playing as well as we’ve seen him play,” said head coach Tom Coughlin said. “Thank God for it.”

The man responsible for getting him the ball, quarterback Eli Manning, is also singing praises — smart considering he’ll likely be looking for Cruz often against an Eagles secondary that has shown it can be gashed.

“I think Victor is playing great [and] he’s played well all season,” said Manning. “He’s making a lot of plays and winning his one-on-one battles. I think he’s done a great job of coming in and continuing to play at a high level. That’s great and hopefully everybody else can catch up to that level.”

Manning will have a shot at getting on the wideout’s level, as he’s had great success against the Eagles — particularly at home — so this could finally be the matchup the struggling offense needs to break its slide. Manning has tossed 13 touchdowns against just two interceptions in his last four home games against the Eagles.

Even fellow starting wideout Hakeem Nicks, who has struggled mightily this season, may get right this week knowing that the Giants’ passing game has an advantage over the Eagles’ back seven.

“These first four games you’ve seen spurts [in the passing game]. We’ve shown that we can pass the ball. We’re still believing in ourselves, believing in each other. We believe we’re still going to come out with a victory,” said Nicks. “But like I said, it’s not about talking about it, it’s about doing. We go out there, we play hard and it will be in our favor.”

Cruz will have his matchup in his favor against the Eagles. Currently, he’s tied for 10th in the NFL in catches, fourth in receiving yards and tied for third in touchdown catches. His full-season projections are a staggering 104 catches, 1,700-plus yards and 16 touchdowns.

And while he knows he’ll have a target on his back on Sunday, Cruz accepted that responsibility and said he won’t try to play any harder than usual.

“I guess I’m just getting open, catching balls that are thrown to me and making something happen,” Cruz said. “That’s all I can do, to do what’s expected of me and get myself open and be an outlet for Eli to hit … but it’s not just about me. It’s about this team getting on the same page again, us clicking on all accords and getting this offense back on track.”

The Giants’ offense is ranked 23rd in yards (325.5 a game) and 30th in scoring (a paltry 15.3 points a game). Philadelphia has scored an average of 24.8 points per game, a respectable 12th overall in the rankings. But the defense has allowed 34.5 points per game, making their points differential minus-9.8 points per game. That’s 28th in the league, meaning as much as they get, they give even more.

“I think if we give the quarterback time, I think very confidently he’ll throw the ball well and give our guys a chance. Things have worked [and] those are the things you try to focus on,” offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. “The other guys have to step up and make plays. [Cruz] is playing great and we’re very proud of the way he’s shown up, [but] we have other guys who have talent, too, and we believe that they can do it, too. … Eli will find them. We’re trying to give all of them [receivers] a chance. I think we’re headed in the right direction. Unfortunately it’s been painfully slow.”

Big Blue notes …

» The Giants are facing the Eagles one week after Philadelphia lost to the Broncos, 52-20. This week, Denver (4-0) is at Dallas (2-2), which is in first place in the NFC East. If the Giants win and the Cowboys lose, the Giants will be just a game out of first place.

» Manning admitted that he and big brother Peyton have compared notes on each other’s upcoming opponents.

“I talked to him [Wednesday],” Manning said. “I talked to him about Philly. I gave him my thoughts on Dallas. That’s who they’re playing this week. I watched [Denver’s] game [against the Eagles]. You ask some questions and just see some general thoughts and I’ll do the same helping him with Dallas. … Not so much as advice, [but] just scheme or some ideas or just some general thoughts on their team.”

» One day after safety Antrel Rolle admitted he’s “desperate” for a win, Cruz basically admitted the same thing.

“This game’s always intense,” Cruz said. “Us against Philly is always intense, no matter what the records are, no matter how each team is playing. It’s an important game for us no matter what. This game is important in the division. We have to get this victory by any means necessary.”

Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…