The highly anticipated first game in New Meadowlands stadium had some seriously surprising story lines. None more surprising than WR Victor Cruz. Cruz entered the game with the second team offense and burned the opposing Jets defensive backs for 6 catches 145 yards and 3 touchdowns. All three touchdowns looked very athletic and impressive. His first touchdown was a 64 yard bomb from backup quarterback Jim Sorgi in which Cruz made significant contact with Jets defenders, even wrapping his arm around a helmet but the touchdown counted. Cruz is an undrafted rookie out of the University of Massachusetts and is vying for a shot at the 53 man roster. With no clear-cut return man decided, the elusive Cruz has a real shot of being there when its all said and done. Under achievers such as Sinorice Moss are hogging rosters spots, but I feel a new wind blowing and Victor Cruz may be forcing these dead weights out.
The 6 foot 1, 200 pound, Cruz even talks a big game. On August 13th espnnewyork.com published a video interview of Cruz in which he claimed, in jest, that he wanted to “kick the crap” out of the Jets. Well it is no joke now, he delivered. In a contest that had a lot of smack talk back and forth, Cruz pulled through and embarrassed the opposing secondary. Keep in mind he played against second and third strings, but in a night where Ramses Barden (who is pushing to become the third receiver against Mario Manningham) dropped a sure ball, anything is possible.
It begs the question, who will be the Giants receivers? With Hixon out for the season there is roster room, I do foresee Moss missing the cut this season, and very possibly Smith and Nicks will be the starters with Barden (because of his unique height and style) pulling in at the three spot. That leaves Manningham, Hagan, and Cruz. Manningham is almost a sure bet to get a spot on the roster, but maybe he will become the return man with Cruz taking over the fourth slot and Hagan either heading to the fifth or sixth spot. These are all merely predictions but it will be interesting to watch a somewhat renewed wide receiver group battle it out.
Other notes from tonight’s game, QB Eli Manning left the game to receive 12 stitches in his head, after colliding with RB Brandon Jacobs on a botched play. The early reports indicate that he did not have a concussion and a statement from Eli indicated he was fine and ready to go; according to ESPN analysts. I do not want to go into more detail because I truly believe ESPN is milking the footage for all it is worth while hyping the incident to a larger importance than it has.
Also, Matt Dodge looked rather unimpressive. He had his first punt blocked and his next few were nothing special, he will need a lot of work before season starts.
Antrel Rolle looked good in his Giant debut picking off Mark Sanchez’s first pass of the new season and returning it to the one yard line after a 59 yard run.
Chase Blackburn left the game early with an injury, he is primarily a special teams linebacker and he hasn’t missed a game in his entire career, so we hope he can return soon. We all know the story of the Giants offseason injuries highlighted by their lone active tight end (Pascoe) in tonights game. They do not need any more injury concerns, although Bear did play well. We will continue to monitor the injuries and the progress of all players, as training camp and the preseason continues.
Josh Berman – nygreporter.com