Victor Cruz: A Giant Return in the Making


    Victor Cruz made a big splash during the Giants media day last week, when he said he expects not only to be on the field for the Giants September 13th season opening game in Dallas, but that he will be back in his old form. Rampant optimism is nothing new from the fifth year wide receiver, as he has been predicting a full recovery for himself from the time he tore his patellar tendon last October in Philadelphia. The Giants organization has not shared his optimism, maintaining a cautious outlook about the receiver’s immediate and long term future. That’s why it’s noteworthy that General Manager Jerry Reese said today in a New York radio station WFAN interview that he expect Cruz to be on the field for this season’s opening game.

    As recently as February at the NFL Scouting Combine, Reese was saying that the team was not counting on a contribution from Cruz in 2015. Despite reports that he was ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation, Reese made it clear that the Giants were planning their off season as if they would be without his services. Today, he reversed course and said that Cruz is 85 to 90 percent of the way complete with his recovery and made the shocking opening day pronouncement. If a highly conservative source like Reese says it, the most skeptical of naysayers should be satisfied. Reese added that that the final stages of Cruz’s rehabilitation is moving at “A snail’s pace” to avoid setbacks. Reese said that he expect Cruz to come back at 100%, adding another affirmation to his suddenly optimistic view.

    Tom Coughlin predicted a highly successful rehabilitation for Cruz if it was a matter of putting in hard work when he initially addressed the media following Cruz’s injury. He praised the wide receiver’s work ethic and predicted a full recovery if dedication and effort were the main requirement. Seven months later, Coughlin seems like a prophet as Cruz is nearing the end of the process and all signs point towards his making a complete recovery. The final hurdle will be running and making cuts, and Giants360 cannot find any evidence that he has undertaken this crucial step. When he does, we will bring all the pertinent information for your immediate consumption.

    La’el Collins update: LSU offensive tackle La’el Collins met with the Baton Rouge police for over an hour this morning and reportedly answered all of their questions regarding the murder of Brittany Mills. The police reiterated that Collins is not a suspect in the murder and that the investigation is ongoing. Collins attorney told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the free agent tackle will seek to get his football career back on track. While not yet fully absolved, that step is expected to happen later in the week, and Collins will be scooped up quickly be one of the NFL franchises. I wrote my views on the Giants potentially signing him on Fantasy Sports Warehouse, and you can read the article here.

    Draft Notes: Reese said that Stanford offensive tackle Andrus Peat was on their draft board, but Giants selection Ereck Flowers was rated higher. He said Flowers has a left and right tackle skill set and Reese envisions him as a long term left tackle at some point in the future. Gushing about second round pick Landon Collins, Reese mentioned his leadership, winning pedigree, and versatility. He also said that Collins, “Fits what Steve Spagnuolo envisions at safety.” Reese called Owa Odighizuwa an edge rusher when Mike Francesa claimed the Giants had not drafted one. Reese added that Odighizuwa has “A strong skill set, long arms, and all the tools to rush the passer,” and sees him as having a huge upside.

    Regarding Mykkele Thompson, the fifth round pick that surprised everyone, including Thompson himself, Reese called him a “Height, weight, speed kid,” and praised his ability to chase down receivers in the open field. Reese said Thompson a pure free safety. Reese referred to sixth round wide receiver Geremy Davis as a David Tyree/Jason Avant type of player. Both are excellent special teams players and known for their blocking ability. Reese called seventh round selection Bobby Hart a player with “Winning in his pedigree,” and sees him as a guard despite his playing offensive tackle at Florida State. He added that Hart will provide depth along the offensive line.

    Reese is he’s pleased with the off season the Giants have had, but insisted that team is not done making moves. Asked about Justin Pugh’s future with the addition of Flowers, Reese deferred to Coughlin, indicating that whether Pugh plays offensive tackle to guard is up to the coaching staff. Reese said that plan for the season is to improve, win the division, get into “The tournament,” and compete for a Super Bowl. Reese spoke about the the mini camp scheduled for this weekend, and said they are inviting a lot of “Look-see” guys, players they will bring in to take a look at. While not discussed with Francesa, a surprising number are Canadian players are included on the mini camp roster. The names Giants360 has uncovered are in our article about the Canadian player infusion. Reese expects this team to get back to “Giants football” and, pressed for a definition, Reese explained it is “Passionate, physical, tough football, that when after you play us, teams will still feel into the next week. We want a big, tough, physical, smart football team that is passionate about what we are doing. ”

    Reese is pleased with the free agent additions, saying the team brought in players that are a good fit for what the Giants do. He added that the signings upgraded key positions on the team, which was the objective going into the offseason.

    Cursing Madden: Odell Beckham, jr. is one of four finalists to be on the cover Madden Football ’16 along with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. The voting site is here. Those worried about he Madden Curse should consider that Richard Sherman was on the cover of Madden Football ’15 and had a healthy, productive season. The curse appears to be broken, but Giants360 would still prefer if one of the other players won the honor.

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