New York Giants

Victor Cruz Says the Giants are “Hitting Our Stride Once Again at the Perfect Time”

The New York Giants appear to be back. The Giants, who looked tired and unfocused before their Week-11 bye, pummeled the Green Bay Packers at home Sunday night and can now take a stranglehold on the division with another prime-time victory Monday against the Washington Redskins. Victor Cruz joined Mike Francesa on WFAN in New York to discuss the big win over the Packers, what was different on Sunday, the pregame speech they got from a sick teenager and their ability to play their best against the league’s best. He also touched on the Giants’ upcoming rematch with the Redskins, who always seem to give Big Blue trouble, and the state of the team right now in comparison to last year.

On beating the Packers handily Sunday:

“It felt good to get everything rolling. Eli was playing well. Offense, defense came to play, and it was a good win — one that we definitely needed.”

On what the big difference was this week after they struggled before the bye:

“I think it was definitely the rest. On top of having just a solid week of practice from the beginning, as soon as we got back on that Monday, you could see guys were flying around. We were vocal, we were talking, guys were feeling good about themselves. And it really showed throughout the week, and we put it all out there on game day.”

On the pregame speech they got from a 15-year-old cancer patient participating in the Make-A-Wish Foundation:

“Yeah, it was really inspiring to see a kid that’s facing so much adversity and facing a lot of things that’s going on just health-wise. For him to come out and the only thing he wanted to say to us was, ‘Go out there and play like world champions,’ it inspired me personally and I think it inspired a lot of us. And it carried over.”

On that experience sticking with him and his teammates:

“Definitely. Just the way he had emotions, started crying and just saying how awesome the experience was. … It was a good feeling.”

On if good teams bring out the best in the Giants:

“I think that’s what it is, man. I think we understand when we play these good teams, we have to bring our best effort out and we do so. We go out there and play inspired football every time we play a top-level team. And we go out there and give them a run for their money and go out there and win some ball games. So hopefully we can continue that trend this week and continue it all the way through the playoffs.”

On if he expects the Redskins to show some new looks defensively this time:

“I’m definitely expecting different. I think just due to what we did to them last time, I think they’re going to be playing some different types of coverages. Hakeem’s playing really well so they can’t just key in on me, I think, right now, because Hakeem is going to start making some teams pay [for] just leaving him single-covered and things like that. It’ll be interesting to see how they play us, and we’ll have to adjust.”

On his feeling that the Giants are hitting their stride right now:

“I feel great about this team. I think we’re hitting our stride once again at the perfect time and we just gotta continue it. We understand exactly where we’re at. We understand exactly where a win on Monday night would put us as far as the division, and we want to take advantage of it.”

On if this season feels similar to last year:

“I think we’re similar. I think our mindsets are a little different in terms of, we know we control our own destiny. We’re at the top, we’re first in our division, we just have to hold onto it. As opposed to last year where we were kind of scratching and clawing and things like that. But it’s funny because we still play like our backs are against the wall each and every game. It still feels like we’re that team that was 9-7 last year and still trying to scratch and claw out. So I think as long as we keep that mentality we’ll do well towards this final stretch and into the playoffs.”

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