It seemed that the entire New York Giants organization was excited, energized, by the anticipated return of Victor Cruz on Wednesday.
But then he walked off the practice field with a trainer. We later learned that teammates had noticed that Cruz didn't have his usual burst and acceleration coming off the line or out of his breaks. His injured calf isn't ready yet.
The Giants haven't exactly lost Cruz -- you need to have something in the first place to lose it -- but not having him, having his return to the field delayed, has frustrated fans and left the Giants short on offensive players.
Ben McAdoo, however, isn't frustrated. Not by the absence of Cruz, nor by the fact the Giants are short-handed.
"Not frustrating. We play with who we have. Whoever is in the locker room getting dressed, whoever gets to suit up that day-- that's who we play with," McAdoo said.
"No [the Giants won't change their game plan], we anticipated coming into the week that we could possibly be short on numbers. We just have to have everything backed up, that's all."
The Giants do have some options in Shane Vereen, Dwayne Harris, and Geremy Davis, however McAdoo played coy when asked if, or how, they would contribute.
"We had some opportunities to gain some more production [from the 3rd receiver] on Thursday night. It didn't go that way coming off of a short week. This week we've had a good week so far of our two days on the field. We expect Dwayne (Harris) and Geremy (Davis) to take advantage of their opportunities. They had a good couple days, and we'll see how it goes in the game," McAdoo said.
What about using Vereen as a wide receiver?
"Yeah, it's all hands on deck. We'll use him, anybody we can, we need 11. So we'll play with 11 healthy bodies if that's all we have," McAdoo said. "The guys that can catch the ball the best, we'll play with on the perimeter.
"He does it [catch passes] a lot from the backfield, so I'm sure we can move him around and do what we need to do if that happens. We'll have a plan in place, we're not going to run out of guys. We'll have 11, we'll have 11."
The Giants know that they need to get Rueben Randle involved in the offense again this week, however McAdoo wouldn't commit to having done anything special to get the seven-catch, 116-yard, one-touchdown out of him on Thursday night
"No, I think he had a good week of prep. It was a short week. He was dialed in, you could see that on the practice field for as many reps as we had out there. We didn't have a ton of live reps, but we had some good skelly reps. He was into the plan, he came out and he didn't press, he let the game come to him. The balls went his way and he capitalized on them," McAdoo said.
So far the only team to really beat the Bills' tough defense has been the New England Patriots. Like with the rest of his comments, McAdoo wouldn't commit to having seen or adopted anything from the Patriots' game against Buffalo, but he did credit them with a well-planned attack.
"They [the Bills] are a very opportunistic defense. They're obviously well-coached. They have a variety of schemes in place, they can probably play every defense in football. They have good players that can execute the schemes. Their strength is up front, and because of that, they'll try to pressure the quarterback and make him commit some errors. When you do that, you may give up some plays downfield," McAdoo said. "I know a lot of their yards may be at the end of the game when points are more important than yards. So I don't think yards is really a good stat to look at. I think if you turn on the film, you'll see a pretty good defense.
"They [the Patriots] had a good plan. They did a nice job protecting him, they took some shots down the field, and they did a good job executing in that game. I think they had about what, 10 third downs in the game. They were three for 10, but they did a nice job with their personnel groups. They had a nice plan."
However, the Giants have a plan of their own: Spread the ball around, be patient, and let the game come to them.
"I think the more you can spread the ball around, the better it is for everyone. You let the one-on-one matchups take care of that. You'd like to gravitate towards the one-on-one matchups and not press. From Eli's perspective, the more guys you have that can make plays for you, that's a good problem to have," McAdoo said.
"We talk a lot about we just want to let the game come to us and find completions. There will be an opportunity in the game to take some shots and throw the ball down the field. When the opportunities arise, you take advantage of them and pull the trigger and you make the play.
"You can call some completions, you can push the ball down the field on some play calls, and you can take an opportunity on shots. But for the most part, you take what the defense gives you, you complete the ball and you move on down the road. There will be some opportunities in games on our terms where we want to take a shot, and we'll do that. To tell the quarterback from the sideline, when I'm over there with a headset on, where to throw the ball on every play is not smart football. So we'll let our veteran quarterback drop back, go through his reads and take the open receiver."
Hopefully the receivers will get open, and the offensive line will give Eli time to find them.