Big Blue View had the opportunity recently to catch up with former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz thanks a promotion Cruz is involved in to benefit the New York Food Bank. Cruz dished on a variety of Giants and NFL topics. Here is our chat, in Q&A form.
How weird is it to watch games with no fans?
“It’s a little weird, to be honest. I think the interesting part is seeing what certain stadiums are doing, either covering it or they’re putting these cardboard cutouts or, depending on where you live some stadiums are even having people in them, so at least a limited amount.
“It’s been interesting. It’s kinda weird, but as I’m watching the games once the football starts, the football’s the football. You get back to the game. It’s all about what you’re watching, the big play, all of that’s still there, but without that roar of the crowd it is a little eerie.
“If I was a player it’d be a little weird for me in the beginning but I think once that ball’s kicked off you’re back to playing football.”
Players say they never hear the crowd cheering or booing, or see them leaving if things aren’t going well. I never believe them. Are they telling the truth?
“They’re lying to you, Ed. You see everything, man. I’m looking around, I hear everything, especially when I’m on the sideline. You have no choice but to hear it. You hear it. Maybe not on the field, maybe not when your adrenaline’s pumping and you’re going through the motions you might not hear everything, but you definitely see people leaving, you can see the energy of the crowd, how it plays into your emotions and how you perform, and you want to do something special to uplift the crowd and make everybody excited and get your team excited. Those things matter, and you definitely pay attention to all those things. So, they’re flat out lying.”
How difficult is it to watch the way the Giants have struggled in recent seasons? Is it hard to figure out why?
“A little bit, mainly because when the Giants have had so much success in the past you look at that and you look at how can the drop off be so great I think is the question that all fans ask. How could the drop off from a Super Bowl year go down so far that we don’t even look competitive at certain points of games? That’s the part people look at and it’s like it’s one thing to lose games or have a bad season but in certain games it doesn’t look like we can even compete with the level of talent that’s on the other side sometimes.
“It sucks as a fan to watch and as a player it frustrates you because you know what this team can do, you know what this organization can do.”
From a fan perspective would you feel good about Joe Judge at this point?
“Yes, I do at least like what he’s doing with the team. I think the overall energy and the rapport of the team around him, I think they love him. I think he’s a stern coach, but a fair coach. I think he has that about him ... the team has been competitive in spots .. it’s just little things where they can’t execute and get over that hump, but I think Joe Judge is right now where we stand he’s not doing a terrible job.”
What do you see when you watch Daniel Jones and what’s your guess on what the future might hold for him?
“I see a guy that takes the wins the same way he takes the losses. He has the temperament and the stability that you want in a New York quarterback. I think he embodies all those little things that you see in Eli Manning I think he embodies all of those things. Temperament, the way he goes about his business, his work ethic, the way he bulked up to get stronger and bigger this year so he can be more durable. He understands there’s parts of his game that he wants to work on, and I think the Giants are going to wait on that. And I think they’re going to continue to give him the benefit of the doubt and keep him on that football field because they believe in him.
“If he’s out there with a full force and all those receivers and all those weapons I think he’s a different quarterback. I think right now he’s just struggling a bit just trying to see the field and work with new guys and get on timing and get on pace with everyone.”
Since you mentioned him, do you get the impression Eli is enjoying retirement? Did you ever think you’d see him on Twitter?
“He’s having a blast in retirement, man. They just had a virtual dinner for the Jay Fund, Coach Coughlin’s foundation, and they honored him. All the players did a video of us singing this Jonas Brothers song, but replacing it with ‘Eli’s so cool.’ It was the most hilarious video I’ve ever done.
“He’s having a blast, man. He’s doing tailgates from home, he’s obviously spending a ton of time with his family and his little ones. It’s been fun to watch, it’s been fun to see. I never thought I’d see him on Twitter, though, that’s been a pleasant surprise. Him working out in cargo shorts has to stop, in khaki shorts. I’ve gotta talk to him about that.”
Are the Giants getting the most out of Evan Engram? Are they using him correctly, or is there more?
“I honestly think there’s more. I think he’s obviously had his fair share of setbacks, as well, and I think we haven’t gotten to see a full dose of healthy Evan Engram and what he can bring to the table. I think he’s always been since he got on that team the X Factor for me. He’s always been the guy that if he’s playing well he can be dynamic in the pass game and be that safety valve for Daniel Jones and have the knack of turning a small gain into a big gain or even a touchdown and this team looks completely different. You can see even in spurts when he gets going, when Daniel Jones finds him with the football on those underneath routes and he’s getting up the field and making things happen you can see the talent level that he has. We just haven’t seen it enough, and I think he’s still very much learning what he can do and I still see a ceiling for Evan Engram that he can still reach.”
Stella Stadium Bytes
Cruz and “World’s Best Female Chef of 2019” (by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants), Daniela Soto-Innes, have teamed up with Stella Artois to bring elevated classics from the stands to New Yorkers at home with “Stella Stadium Bites.”
Stella Stadium Bites will be available in Manhattan only starting today via www.StellaStadiumBites.com for the New York Giants game on Oct. 22, while supplies last. The cost of a pack will include two Stella Stadium Bites bites from the menu, 2 chalices, a mini cooler and a 6-pack of Stella Artois Lager totals $25 with all proceeds donated to the New York Food Bank.