But I think Giants fans everywhere need a little bit of perspective. Reading the site this past week, I have seen Cruz being compared to wide receivers like Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, and Wes Welker, and I cringe each time. We need to remember that despite his accomplishments, his first career regular season reception came this year. His potential is undeniable, but these comparisons are unwarranted and, quite frankly, ridiculous.
An elite wide receiver is a wide receiver that can get open and make plays even when the defenive secondary knows he is the most dangerous threat. These elite wide receivers include, in my opinion, Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Wes Welker, Roddy White, Reggie Wayne, and a few others. This is a list that, today, does NOT include Victor Cruz.
In fact, I believe that Cruz is not even the best wide receiver on this team. It is important to remember that for much of the season, Cruz was considered the third most dangerous receiving threat on this Giants team. Our most dangerous threat, Hakeem Nicks, has been forced to face opposing defenses' best cornerbacks and double coverage for just about the entire season. He overcame this to catch 76 balls for almost 1200 yards, and perhaps deserves a spot on that "elite" list. Victor Cruz, on the other hand, has often only faced the opposing teams' third corner, and, until very recently, has never been forced to deal with double coverage. His record-breaking season is due to a number of things, such as the offense's unprecedented inability to run the ball, the best season of Eli Manning's career, and, of course, his talent.
Furthermore, the expectations and the hype placed upon this 25 year old "rookie" (because for all intents and purposes, he is one) place an incredible amount of pressure on Cruz. He has never before felt this kind of pressure, and I will be pleasantly surprised if we do not see some kind of drop in his performance this week.