New York Giants

Victor Cruz Looks Past Officiating Woes, Helps Giants Develop One of the NFL’s Top Passing Attacks

Victor Cruz isn’t letting shoddy officiating get to his head or ruin his game. The New York Giants wide receiver says he and his teammates really weren’t all that distracted by the replacement officials, and it showed in the statistics. The Giants rank second in the league in terms of passing offense, averaging 326 yards per game, and have scored five touchdowns through the air. Victor Cruz joined WFAN in New York with Mike Francesa to discuss the breakout players last week against Carolina, playing at Philadelphia, the performance of the replacement officials, how it affected coverage down the field, if it got in his head, the Giants’ passing attack and the challenges he’ll face against Philadelphia. (Editor’s note: This interview took place before the deal between the NFL and the NFLRA.)

How happy were you to see your wide receiver buddy Ramses Barden break out against Carolina?:

“He’s been feeling the pressure a little bit, I want to say, just to have his opportunity and really show people what he can do. I was really happy for him. He came in there and did exactly what we wanted him to do, exactly what we knew he could do, and that’s make big plays and big catches.”

If anyone knows what a guy like him is going through, it’s you, right?:

“Most definitely. They’re going to get some more opportunities come next game and I think Ramses, as well as Andre Brown, are going to be crucial pieces to this team being successful. It’s good to see.”

Going to Philadelphia is a tall task, but you guys kind of like going there don’t you?:

“Yeah, we enjoy going out there, at least I do personally. It’s hostile territory, it’s a division game, it’s what you live for as a Giant, to play in this conference, in this division. I’m sure it’s going to be no problem getting us hyped up and ready for this game.”

How are you feeling about these replacement officials?:

“I just feel like what we worried about and what we thought about, that we didn’t want to happen, actually happened. It came down to a final call in a game that was really going to decide who wins or loses it and the refs, they came up short in this one, which is unfortunate. It’s what we didn’t want, we didn’t want to see it. We all were scared to see it, but it happened. Now, it’s up to the NFL and the league to really look into this and see how far they want to go with these refs.”

It seems to have made receivers conscious of guys clutching and grabbing them off the line of scrimmage:

“Not just at the line of scrimmage, but more so down the field they’re pulling and grabbing, because these refs aren’t trained to see those type of calls as much as the normal refs are. It’s definitely been tough to deal with, but as an athlete and a competitor, you don’t want to make any excuses.”

But is it hard not to have the officials in your head a little bit?:

“It hasn’t been that difficult for us. Us, as a team, and as teammates, we do a good job of blocking that stuff out and focusing on what we have to focus on and focusing on executing our gameplan and making plays down the field. … But I can’t speak for other teams.”

Do you feel like your guys’ passing attack is now among the best in the league?:

“Yeah, we’ve been doing a good job of executing our gameplan. Myself and Hakeem are a couple years into this offense and right now we feel like we’ve pretty much got this thing down. And Martellus Bennett has done a good job of picking it up on the fly and we feel like we’re in a pretty good rhythm. It’s really paying off for us. We’re putting up a bunch of good numbers — 30-plus points — and we’re excited about where our offense is at.”

What kind of challenges do the Eagles present for you at wide receiver?:

“They’ve got some pretty good corners in Cromartie and Nnamdi, so it’s going to be important for us to get off to a good start, to come out there and really play our best football early on. They like to play press coverage, which is what we’ve been seeing. We’re excited about the challenge.

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