Victor Cruz wanted to be a captain for the New York Giants. His teammates voted to make him a captain this season for the first time. Now, the star wide receiver has to learn how to be a captain.
Remarks Cruz made on Wednesday seem to indicate he knows he has things to learn about leadership.
"It takes a lot of resiliency and a lot of strength emotionally to withhold some of the things you feel and some of the things you want to feel to be able to translate to your team in private as opposed to out loud where people can see and make judgments on. [You] have to talk to your team in private, which is what I have to learn to do," Cruz said. "If I am going crazy, I think they'll kind of go crazy. If I am saying negative things, for example, then they are going to say negative things. I have to keep a level head and transfer that positive energy to everyone else."
Not every great player is a great leader. And not every great leader is a great player. Cruz, early-season struggles not withstanding, has proven that he is a great player. Can he be a great leader? That remains to be seen.
It helps when you play well, and Cruz has not done that in the first two games. It might also be a good idea for Cruz not to do things like tell the media he wants the ball thrown to him more. That was likely an innocent comment not meant to appear selfish, but after dropping a pair of key passes on Sunday vs. Arizona Cruz wound up looking bad.
"It [being a captain] is something new for me. I have to be able to understand what comes with that role and understand what things are entitled of me to do. Some of it comes naturally and some of it I have to force within myself," Cruz said. "You have to take responsibility for the things you do and I think that is part of being a captain as well. Not just pointing to others and telling them to do better, but looking within yourself and telling yourself that you have to do better as well. I think I have always been that type of guy."
Head coach Tom Coughlin had promised to have a conversation with Cruz, and said Wednesday that talk had taken place. Coughlin said the contents of that would "remain private," but did share some thoughts on Cruz and leadership.
"Victor's a captain now, it's not just his group, but I believe his group can and should play better and help, continue to help us get in a position ... we're not exactly scoring any points, we need people to be in that position, and he agreed with me and he's working towards doing something about that," Coughlin said.
It appears that Cruz's captaincy, like the Giants offense in general, is a work in progress.