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New York Giants’ Victor Cruz: Hakeem Nicks is Our No. 1 Wide Receiver

July 29th, 2013 at 10:00 AM
By Dan Benton

In recent weeks and months, a debate has raged over the value of the New York Giants' top two wide receivers and which of the duo is not only more talented, but is the team's clear No. 1 wide receiver. Safety Antrel Rolle recently said it was Hakeem Nicks, and on Monday, Victor Cruz agreed with him.

'Victor Cruz makes the catch' photo (c) 2011, Kathy Vitulano - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

"I think the No. 1 wideout is Hakeem Nicks," Victor Cruz said on NFL Network's "NFL AM" on Monday. "I mean, he's been here longer, he understands this offense. He's our big-play guy, he's on the outside. So I definitely think he's our No. 1 receiver, there's no doubt about it."

That's not to say Cruz isn't valuable, or that he doesn't see the value he brings to the team, but like most, he understands exactly what it is a healthy No. 88 brings to the table. Still, he also feels that wide receivers league-wide should be paid for what they do on the field and not necessarily where they line up (outside vs. slot).

"I do think we've been undervalued; I think it definitely signifies a change in the game," Cruz said. " … I think the numbers are the numbers and they have to be scaled according to the tops in the league no matter where you line up on the field."

And after receiving what amounts to a six-year, $45.879 deal earlier this offseason, it's clear that Cruz has set the table for other slot receivers around the league to cash in on what had previously been an undervalued position.

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Tags: Football, Hakeem Nicks, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Victor Cruz

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28 Responses to “New York Giants’ Victor Cruz: Hakeem Nicks is Our No. 1 Wide Receiver”

  1.  fanfor55years says:

    It isn’t news that Hakeem is the #1 receiver, but it is news that Rolle says it publicly and that Cruz accepts that graciously instead of begrudgingly. That means that there will be little, or no, blowback when Nicks gets a considerably better contract from the Giants.

    I’m hopeful that those who insisted that if they had to choose one or the other they would choose Cruz now understand that it was shortsighted. And don’t give me that “injury-prone” stuff because Nicks has a minor muscle issue that has resulted in the team holding him out of practice for precautionary reasons. It’s the beginning of camp and there’s a lot of football left to be played. Only an idiot of a coach would risk a tear by forcing Hakeem onto the field. The guy will need a few weeks of working with Eli on timing, and there’s five to go before the season starts. No need to rush.

    •  JimStoll says:

      speaking for myself, I never argued keep Cruz over Nicks; rather, I argued don’t let Cruz go just because you have Nicks

      in other words, we have our own unique Dynamic Duo

      Holy uncoverability, Hakkem

      Exactly, Victor

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    I think the beginning-of-camp depth charts (where are you guys seeing them?) contain a lot of what I’ll call “courtesy-to-veterans” rankings. They don’t mean much and are subject to significant changes.

    •  Krow says:

      There’s truth in that.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      The order that the players have been practicing in. Ross being ahead of Hosley while I don’t like it I can understand. But McBride is clearly just a JAG and hasn’t played with us or under Fewell before some him beig ahead of Hosley is a little concerning. It’s early but not a good sign.

      Just like Hankins being second team with Rodgers over Patterson and Austin I think means something too. While Hill being on 3rd team I think has more to do with seeing what guys like Sash can do.

  3.  GOAT56 says:

    Repost:

    The one thing that trouble be early as far as depth charts and who’s playing is that Hosley is playing on the 3rd team behind Ross and McBride. That’s troubling to me because Hosley I feel is very important to the CB position because he’s really the only player that has the talent to make a surprise impact. Ross can be solid. Webster can regain his form but still to succeed I think we need impact form Hosley. Meaning he should be our starting nickel back and first CB off the bench should Prince or Webster get dinged.

  4.  Krow says:

    By what yardstick do we measure Justin Pugh?

    My take … … …

    Picked at 19 … I figure to be declared an unqualified success he has to take over the starting RT position by mid-season. Our biggest need … filled.

    Starting at OG by mid-season still makes him a good selection, but somewhat less than a RT.

    Becoming our center would be confusing, but would also constitute a solid success.

    Anything less then we should have gone in another direction.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I agree, but if he takes over at guard while Brewer takes over at RT that would be fine too, and would in my view make the selection a fine one.

  5.  Krow says:

    In other training camp news Ramses Barden is being pushed hard by Carlos Danger.

  6.  GIANTT says:

    Do you look at Pugh in isolation ? If Pugh comes in at guard and someone (Brewer or
    even Diehl ) is a better combination at tackle than Pugh at tackle and someone at guard then thats to be thought about too . Im not suggesting that that is the case
    but where he lines up may be more an indictment of his competition than his skill .
    If Diehl and Brewer are better on the right than Boothe on the left then certainly play Pugh there and get your 5 best linemen playing regardless of draft position .I only say this because Pugh has been touted as a versatile lineman and it makes it a lot easier to put your 5 best guys out there if he can outplay several guys on the line

  7.  fanfor55years says:

    In many ways the training camp battle that most intrigues me is Connor versus Herzlich.

    While many think Connor is a bum, I don’t. I thought he was pretty good at Carolina, and pretty good at Dallas (BBG has noted that he was behind Carter and Lee, but I think they were two of the better linebackers in the league so being “behind” them is not shameful). The guy has been a strong run-stopper every season, and that is critical to the defense this season. He would have value, and he’s definitely bright enough to learn Fewell’s defense.

    Herzlich looked to me like he was “getting” it late last season, and it is impossible to ignore that the coaches were talking him up as their future MIKE even early last season when they were noting how much he had learned and what a good teacher Blackburn was for the kid.

    One of these guys is going to quarterback this defense for the next few years. It should be really interesting to watch the battle. Both know the job is definitely open (even Aaron Curry probably has his eyes on that job, and Jake Muasau is fighting for a deep roster spot and comes from a desperate enough background that you know he is going to compete all the way).

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      I can tell you this, Dan Connor will not be QB’ing this defense. He’s a serviceable backup. That’s about it.

      And I’m not so sure Herzlich will be that guy either.

      oh, and he was ok at Carolina, and wasn’t that great in Dallas. He’s depth. Not starting material. you’ll see.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I don’t see it as much of a competition. If Herzlich continues to play as he has during the offseason I think the job is going to be his. I think Herzlich knowledge of the defense really well gives him an advantage that Conner will be hard pressed to make up. In fact out of the LBs the only thing I feel pretty confident in right now is that Herzlich will start and Williams will be a nickel LB.

      Paysinger really is the sleeper of this group. I think even if he doesn’t beat out Williams he has a chance to a SLB. Paysinger will still find some playing time even if he’s not a starter.

      Conner if relegated to a backup makes his roster spot questionable if someone else shows they can play MLB. My surprise for that role is Paysinger. Knowing the system much like Herzlich he could possibly show he’s effective enough as a backup MLB to knock Conner off the roster. It’s more likely Conner stays but lots is up in the air at LB. Only Williams, Herzlich, Paysinger and Rivers are roster locks.

  8.  F0XLIN says:

    My buddy was at camp yesterday and said Connor very much looks like a a pure run stopper. They were runnning LB coverage drills with the RB out of the backfield. Granted Wilson is a tough cover but he said him and Wilson were blowing by him with ease.

    I am going to camp tomorrow so will do my best to take notes and report back

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      coverage has Always been a problem for Connor. Even at Penn St. That’s why he’ll struggle.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Yeah, but NO MIKE is going to be able to “cover” Wilson. What you hope one WILL do is get into the passing lane and force a tougher throw from the QB.

      On third downs, the MIKE will typically be on the sideline because we’ll have the faster linebackers on the field for coverage purposes.

      The three critical jobs of the MIKE are: recognize the offensive intentions and set your defense; stop the run by getting into the gaps and hitting the runner early; and drop into coverage by getting as deep as possible into passing lanes in order to give yourself a chance at swatting the ball or at least forcing the QB to wait for a receiver to clear past your lane and possibly having to throw late (so a safety can come up and stop the play while competing for the ball) or look away to a third read which could result in a sack or a throwaway. MIKEs cannot stay with speedy receivers. Even Patrick Willis could not really cover David Wilson out of the backfield. But he plays the lanes brilliantly. That was Urlacher’s thing, too, for a lot of years. You hope your MIKE will read, react, drop into excellent position, and anticipate or read the QBs eyes and make a play.

  9.  KingAndrewXXIII says:

    I realize that it’s still in the VERY beginning stages of the new season and a lot has to break in your favor to achieve Super Bowl style success…but I will say, I haven’t EVER been as excited about this team’s offense before in my life. Eli is at the top of his game and has more weapons that he has ever had in his whole career. Forget about the fact that he should have a healthy (when the season rolls around – he will take precaution in the offseason as it’s a contract year) Nicks, a newly inked and paid up Cruz, Randle (who apparently has been making leaps and bounds) and a guy I think MANY people really are sleeping on in Louis Murphy. Murphy, as a number 4 WR may be the absolute BEST #4 in the NFL. The guy has amazing speed and the ability to play both inside and outside…and gives the team the flexibility to still have a productive 3 WR set should anyone go down for an extended time with injury. Meyers is another one that I think many are extremely undervaluing. The guy has GREAT hands for a TE…and I’m sure his blocking will improve. The only area that really concerns me on offense is our RB’s. Will Wilson be able to handle the load as a true #1 RB? Can Brown’s health hold up for a full season? Who plays behind them? I realize RB’s are a dime a dozen in the NFL outside of a certain elite few, and that a rejuvenated OL should help…but the depth there, coupled with the health of the Hynocerous does concern me a little bit.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      We have some decent choices as #3 running back. I particularly like Cox and Torrain as options. I’m not at all a fan of Scott but if he beats out one of those two he deserves to be on the team.

      The bigger issue is the offensive line. I’m quite optimistic, but it could go wrong. Much depends upon how Brewer has progressed. If he is going to be “starter-worthy” then we’re in business because Beatty, Baas and Snee should be plenty good enough when combined with the two best options from among Diehl, Pugh and Brewer, and we’d have sufficient depth with the “loser” of the noted competition, Cordle, and probably Mosley (plus possibly a 9th player on the depth chart, Herman or McCants in all likelihood but possibly someone else). If Brewer is still “not ready” then we need Pugh (a rookie), Mosley (a guy who missed his rookie season), Herman (a late pick who is a flyer) and McCants (a disaster in preseason in 2012 when asked to play out of position when Flaherty insists all of his linemen can play multiple spots along the line).

      Like I said, I’m confident, but waiting to see that my confidence is justified. As you probably know, I’ve been excited about this offense for quite awhile, and frankly, I think they could do quite well even if they don’t fully solve their O-line issues. But if they DO solve those issues it’s Katie-Bar-the-Door and a lot of sleepless nights for defensive coordinators when they have the Giants on their schedule.

  10.  GOAT56 says:

    Giants 101 @Giants_101
    Ready for this? Coach Nunn says Marvin Austin has had his best offseason to date. Still needs to “prove it” with pads on. #nyg #giants

    Giants 101 @Giants_101
    Nunn feels Damontre Moore can contribute early, saying he’s off to an “outstanding” start, but wants to see him play with pads on.

    Giants 101 @Giants_101
    Coach Nunn says Justin Tuck is in the best shape he’s ever seen him. Says it’s been a good offseason for the captain. #nyg

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Austin is another “wild card”. Frankly, none of us could reasonably assume he will be an asset after seeing nothing for two years. But if he comes on and justifies where Reese selected him? Wow.

      I’ve said before, I expect Tuck to have a big year. Maybe Comeback of the Year Player in the NFL.

      •  KingAndrewXXIII says:

        This is Austin’s make or break it moment. They drafted Hankins high in the draft…so he’s locked in. If Austin can prove he’s got it, then they could allow Joseph to walk in FA. DT is going to be one of the tightest battles in camp this season.

        And I will go on the record now and say no shot Justin Tuck is the Comeback Player of the Year.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Austin would be big for the team. Not because of this year because with the other DTs Austin isn’t need for a big role this year. But in 2014 with only Hankins and Joseph under contract Austin’s development would give us a lot more flexibility at DT going into next year.

      Tuck we need. I think in someways JPP’s surgery and Osi’s departure were good for Tuck. He knows with those guys gone it’s back on him like it was in 2008. I think that’s good for him in prep for this year. Even if Tuck doesn’t return to a probowl level player we need him to return to a high level player.

      Moore is kind of a bonus. Any real production from him is almost gravy. It will be interesting to see if he continues to impress if he forces his way on the field in the joker role. While not as talented, Moore reminds me of JPP his rookie year. We didn’t need anything from JPP either with the vets around him but he still gave us some plays. There’s even more room for Moore to make an impact than it was for JPP his rookie year.

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