New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz was a pleasant discovery after being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2010 from the University of Massachusetts. Last season he emerged as a top weapon for Eli Manning, setting a franchise record with 1,536 receiving yards. However, in the first week of the 2012 season, Cruz had his worst game of his career after dropping three passes and being called for two penalties.
After such a successful season in 2011, it was only natural that Cruz would receive a great deal of attention in the offseason. He became the guest on several talk shows, handed out an award at the ESPY's, was on the cover of GQ Magazine, appeared in several commercials and released his own book. Victor was seen doing his signature 'salsa dance' everywhere and some blame his sudden celebrity status for his poor performance in the season opener.
Terry Bradshaw is one of those who blame all the attention he's received for his lackluster play. On FOX Sunday's pregame show he stated that Cruz caught more balls in his commercials than he did against the Cowboys. Cruz told USA Today Sports that he is well-aware of people doubting him.
"They are, people are (anticipating the drop-off). At the end of the day, there are people out there that want to see you fail. I'm not saying Terry's one of them, but there are people out there who don't want to see you succeed, no matter how good of a guy you are," Cruz said.
NFL Network's Rich Eisen is another expert who chimed in on Cruz's performance. Eisen tweeted Cruz "Has a lot of salsa on his fingertips."
Cruz has made it clear that he understands last week's performance was unacceptable and his teammates are counting on him to play better than he did. That's why in practice this week, he's working on the basics.
"Obviously, I was thinking about (the drops) and wanting to redeem myself. That's why today I was trying to catch everything and just try to focus on the ball and get back to the little things. I guess that's one of the things I had to get back to — catching the ball and looking it all the way in. I think I did that today (in practice), and I regained my focus a little bit. I'm all right," he said.
Victor believes last game was a fluke, and so does his quarterback Eli Manning. Manning saw what Cruz was able to accomplish last season and isn't worried about his receiver.
"You're going to have days like that," Manning said, "and as long as he keeps getting open, which he's done a great job doing, he'll start catching the ball and we'll start making plays and we should have a great season," he said.
If Eli isn't worried, we shouldn't be either.
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