The return of Victor Cruz to the football field has been one of the major storylines of the New York Giants 2015 and 2016 offseasons. He finally made that return last week against the New York Jets, catching a quick 4-yard pass early in the second half.
Cruz took the field for the second week in a row Thursday night against the New England Patriots. Though Eli Manning and Odell Beckham sat out, Cruz saw the field with other starters in the first half.
While he didn't record a catch, his play against Malcolm Butler, who Bill Belichick matched up on Odell Beckham Jr. in the teams' 2015 meeting, gives coach Ben McAdoo confidence that Cruz can once again be a productive receiver.
"I thought he had a couple of nice releases." McAdoo said after the game. "I know on the vertical route to the right near our sideline, he had a real nice release. On one at the line of scrimmage, he didn't get the ball there, but it was encouraging to see."
McAdoo later added, "I'm confident." [That Cruz can be a productive receiver].
Going against Darrelle Revis and Malcom Butler, two established, smart, and talented corners, in back-to-back weeks is adding to Cruz's confidence as well. "I think so." Cruz said, when asked if going against those corners helps his confidence. "Just to be able to go out there and compete. To go out there and do some good things. Match skill level with those guys. From a route running perspective, going against those guys, I think it's a good sign for me. It's a sign that I'm going in the right direction and continuing to progress."
Cruz later gave a breakdown of one of the plays where he got a good release against Butler "It was a sudden move." Cruz said "It was a conversion route to where if we get press coverage we convert it to a go route. I got press coverage from Butler and made a quick move at the line. He kind of got stuck there for a second and I went around him and put my hand up to no avail, at least this time."