WR Victor Cruz
January 4, 2017
Q: What do you remember about your first playoff game?
A: My first playoff game I remember being extremely nervous and not knowing what to expect. I had the luxury of playing my first playoff game right here at home so that made it a little bit easier. I still remember being nervous and kind of having the jitters. Once that ball is kicked off and you start playing some football, youíre good to go.
Q: What has your advice been to some of your younger guys that have never experienced this?
A: Just relax. The moment can be hyped, and it can get you excited. There could be a lot running through your mind in that specific moment. Just relax and let the game come to you. Take it for what itís worth, enjoy the moment, but understand what you need to do so we can continue to have that feeling week in and week out.
Q: Is it calming that a guy like Eli Manning has done what heís done in the playoffs?
A: 100 percent. Having a guy like Eli is exactly what you want, and exactly what you look for in a team that wants to make a deep run. Having him at the helm, understanding what this is all about, and being in this position before can definitely give us an advantage, at least for the younger guys to look up to him and for us to have that much more confidence in our guys.
Q: Youíre one of six leftovers from the last playoff team. Have the other guys come to you for advice?
A: Not necessarily, but I did tell them that it is different. That the energy is different in these games. Just in passing, not in a big hoopla crowd. As Iím talking to them as the days go on, Iím just letting them know that energy and the mode in the playoffs is different. Just understand that going into the game and not be surprised by it going into the game.
Q: Back in 2011; can you talk about how special and how important that game was? You had a lot going on in your life, with having a kid and stuff, and can you talk about how far youíve come?
A: Her birthday is on Monday. Sheíll be five. So she wasnít even born yet. That in itself shows how much time flies, and how much things change over a period of time. My mode then was just trying to figure it out, trying to get through it, and trying to understand what the playoffs with the Giants is all about. Now, itís a little different. Having played in a couple of playoff games and having won a Super Bowl, you understand what itís like. You just have to remind yourself when you get out on the field. The moment and that feeling is pretty special.
Q: Whatís your reaction, to our reaction, on your off-day festivities in Florida?
A: Not surprised. Letís move along. Itís all about Green Bay now. Weíre already a couple of days removed from that. Green Bay is the focus.
Q: What about the weather?
A: Who cares. Itís a playoff game. We donít care about the weather. Weíre going out there to play a football game and to win. Keep our chances of winning a Super Bowl alive. The weather isnít anything weíre concerned about.
Q: With all those distractions around Odell, and all the attention that he gets, for him to go out and perform and have another great year, what does it say about him?
A: It shows a lot. Weíre literally seeing this kid grow in front of our eyes. For me as a teammate, itís something that is fun to watch. Itís fun to see him hold it down and continue to produce week in and week out. Itís something that Iíve helped him with, whether itís just saying words to him or talking to him about what is expected of him, and how I view him. Itís something that has been very fun to watch and itís only going to get better.
Q: Has he asked you anything in particular?
A: Nothing I can share with you.
Q: You mentioned Odell learning from you, but you also have a few rookies offensively, like Sterling Shepard and Paul Perkins, that are really producing. What have you taught them and how proud does it make you to see them succeed in the field?
A: It makes me feel great. Obviously for Perkins, heís a guy that has fought tooth and nail week in and week out for a chance to play. Heís done his due diligence doing the scout team work and all the things that you ask a guy to pay his dues to get on that field. Sterling has just been phenomenal. He just understands how to play football and is getting better week to week. He asks a bunch of questions as well. He just wants to ask and learn and learn. Iím the same way. I ask those guys, whether it be visually seeing what theyíre doing on the field, and taking little things from them. Iím sure itís vice versa. Obviously, both of those guys weíre going need to make a stretch here in these playoffs. Iím excited to have those guys playing at a high-level.
Q: Have you given any thought about this being your last game with the Giants?
A: Not at all.
Q: When you look at the Packers secondary, what do you see on film?
A: We just see, due to some injuries, some guys that arenít playing their natural position. Just some guys that are trying to figure it out and get through games. Get through in a sound way. Get through their defense and make plays. Obviously we see that. As an offense, we want to do some things to combat that, and make sure that we are prepared for whatever they throw at us and whatever guys cover us that we are able to win our one-on-one battle.
Q: Is that something you can take advantage of? Those guys playing out of their position?
A: Of course. Any time guys are playing a position that they arenít necessarily used to, itís definitely something that you want to look at to get a leg up on the opponent. Those guys get paid to play too, so we understand that. We just want to be able to pick our spots and be successful.
Q: Whatís the biggest difference that you can tell in the Packers defense from when you faced them last?
A: Just personnel. Obviously, due to some injuries they have some different guys in there. Theyíre playing the same thing. When they played the Lions they played a lot of single-high and a lot of press man. Stuff like that. Weíll see if they keep that up with us. For the most part, theyíre the same cover-two team that we saw when we saw them earlier this season.
Q: Itís been a season of milestones for you coming back. Is that going to be the feeling when you step on the field on Sunday, that youíre back in the playoffs after being away for so long?
A: Absolutely. Itís going to be a moment for me that Iíll cherish forever. This entire year and entire season was trying to do the impossible. Do all the things that all the guys out there, and all the people that have microphones and have these newspapers and things like that, write about how hard it was going to be for me to come back or potentially how hard it was going to be for me to come back. To play 15 games this year, and now into the postseason, and continue to play at a high level and still be healthy and ready to go, I think it says a lot about not only my teammates, myself, and my coaching staff that have the belief in me; but my work ethic and all the hard work that I put in this game. Now, I just want to continue to do what Iím supposed to do and win another Super Bowl.
Q: Do you see any similarities in this team that you saw in the 2011 team that won a title?
A: Absolutely. For the most part, obviously talent-wise itís all there, but the biggest thing for me is the comradery. The friendships on this team go beyond football. Itís not just what you see on the practice field. I think it goes off the field and it will live for years to come. I think thatís the biggest thing that I can relate the 2011 team.
Q: There was a report that there were drugs on this boat in a video. Could you set the record straight for us?
A: Iím just here to talk about the Green Bay Packers and the matchup that we have coming up this week. Thatís the only thing Iím worried about.
Q: Coach McAdoo was talking about that this is a different Giants team heading into Lambeau now, then earlier this year. Do you agree with that?
A: I do. I think weíre battle-tested. I think weíve been through some things after that game that really set the standard and the focus for this team. I think thatís one of the biggest things for us going into the game. Understanding that weíve been through some wars and now weíre ready to go.