WR Victor Cruz
August 8, 2015
Q: Howís your knee feeling? Have you thought about it?
A: Itís feeling goodólike I said before, things are getting better. Nothing negative is happening with the knee. Everything is still going in the right direction. Iím actually getting more and more comfortable with it as the days go by, so Iím feeling good.
Q: Are there any challenges? Maybe youíre doing more of something than you expected orÖ in regards to like maintenance or taking care of it [the knee]?
A: Yeah, Iím still watching my reps and still making sure Iím progressing the way they want me to, but as far as physically, thereís no restrictions on my end. Mentally, there are still certain routes that Iím still getting more comfortable with as I continue to do them within the offense, but from a restrictions standpoint, the training staff has their thing, but Iím pretty much good to go for the most part.
Q: Do you know what youíre going to be doing next week?
A: I know Iím not going to do anything against Cincinnati, throughout practices or anything like that. Iíll just do the stuff that we do individually on our end. They donít want me to get over-competitive and go out there and do something crazy. As much as I assured them that I wonít, they still wonít allow me, soÖ
Q: How much of a challenge is that, kind of holding yourself back from what youíre just inherently accustomed to?
A: Itís a pretty big challenge. Obviously, when youíre so much of a competitor and you want to go out to battle with your teammates and you know they are going to be out there fighting and competing, you want to be out there with them. You want to battle with them, and itís a little difficult, but you have to understand that thereís a bigger picture and there is a 16-game season that we want to grab a hold of and be ready for. Thatís kind of what Iím looking at, but you know youíve got to take it one day at a time.
Q: Do you expect to play in any preseason games?
A: I donít know. I think thatís up to the training staff, as theyíve seen me progress throughout these weeks of training camp, and I guess Iím going to leave that all up to them.
Q: When you talked about coming back, you targeted that Dallas game. Did you have any kind of [thought] in the back of your head that you would get into a preseason game?
A: I kind of did. I would love some kind of tune-up work, and kind of going out there and feeling what game speed feels like again and get hit real speed again so it wonít be so much of a surprise come Week One, but like I said, Iíll leave it up to the coaching staff and the training staff. I know that I want to play, but you have to leave it up to them.
Q: Do you feel like if you donít get into a preseason gameóbecause you havenít been in that game speed then-- that there might be a little bit of lingering stuff to work out?
A: I donít know. Thatís so far ahead that I wonít know until Iím in that position, so I just have to take it day by day and make sure that when the time is right that Iíve prepared mentally and physically, that Iíll be ready to go. Players like myself, you get in that mode. Once you get that one catch, that one hit, and you get that one first down, youíre ready to go. Your adrenaline is pumping, and everything else kind of takes over. But I myself would like just a little bit of tune-up work to make sure that Iím ready to go.
Q: The dynamic of the team has changed with Odell now, obviously. How do you see that working itself out? Can you guys play together out there in tandem? How do you see that working?
A: Absolutely. We can definitely play together. I think that this offense matches both of our strengths very well, as far as him stretching the field and his route running abilities and my ability to route run between the hashes and make the small play into a big one, which he can do as well. And Rueben as wellóhe stretches the field on the opposite end, so it gives defenses a lot to grab a hold onto come week in and week out, so weíre excited, man. Weíre excited to get all our balls in one corner and get this thing rolling.
Q: When you say that there are routes that youíre still getting comfortable with, is it physical or you trusting it? What needs to happen?
A: I think itís just me trusting it. Just me continuing to trust it as I get more repetition of doing it, more confidence builds in my kneeómore cutting, using the knee to cut inside and cut outside. Just the repetition that I need to continue to do to build the confidence in it, but the more I do it, the more confidence it builds and itís feeling pretty good. I just want to continue those repetitions.
Q: Are you worried that youíre going to hurt it again or worried youíre not going to be able to do what you need to do?
Iím kind of just making sure that pop is still there, making sure that the quickness out of the break is still there, and making sure that I can still do that cut the way I did in years past. Thatís more so what it is and I have so far, just a matter of getting comfortable with it and continuing to do it consistently day in and day out.
Q: What do you see when you look at yourself on film from these practices?
I see a guy that resembles the guy that was playing last year, still have that same pop, still have that same ability, still has that lateral quickness off the line, and during some of these one-on-ones, Iíve seen some of that quickness. Itís just a matter of building on that and thereís always a lot to work on. Thereís always a lot to get better at, but Iím happy that the quickness is pretty much still there and I can still get up field pretty quickly.
Q: You say some of the quickness.
I just havenít let it out the bag yet. Iím just trying different things, making sure my releases and stuff are still top notch, and Iím able to get around the DBís at the line and get things going. I havenít given all the moves out just yet.
Q: Is the jump cut catch you did today in practice one of those things you just need to do and does it come naturally?
Yeah, I was kind of happy about it because it was almost subconscious. You know how you grab the ball and see a defender and you want to make him miss and it kind of just happened. I was happy about it. I was happy I got the defender to move a little bit and I was able to take it up the sideline for a few extra yards. I was happy that it kind of came natural and I didnít have to think about it, nothing hurt or anything like that, I was able to do it and keep going, so that was a good sign.
Q: Was it against the Texans last year when you did that?
Yeah, the little jump hop, and then score for the touchdown, right? Itís similar.
Q: Is it less frustrating to have to hold back because WR Odell Beckham Jr. III has to as well?
No, it doesnít help. We want to keep guys as healthy as possible as much as possible, so obviously spending more time with him ironically battling his hamstring, me with the knee, so weíve gotten closer that way. As far as being on the field and battling and competing day in and day out, we want all our guys out there and ready to go.
Q: Do you wear anything on the knee?
No, nothing, no brace, or anything like that. If the point of being out for 10 months was to get it stronger, I wanted it to be strong enough that I didnít have to wear anything.
Q: When you get to games, will it be the same thing?
Q: Do you think about it at all out there?
I donít. Thank God I donít think about it at all. I just go out there and play.
Q: Was that from day one of practice or did it take you a little time?
Fortunately for me, prior to training camp, I ran some routes and stuff like that throughout my training and I knew I could make the cuts. I knew I could do all those things but obviously with pads on and a helmet, things are different. Just mentally, when you come here, it took a couple reps to kind of get my feet up under me and get that confidence to go a little bit. I think right after practice one and into practice two is when I started to go into my confidence a little more.
Q: Will you ever get to a point when you make those one-handed Beckham catches?
I almost had one today in one-on-ones but I couldnít bring it in. Weíll see, man. That guy catches things, heíll catch anything you throw at him at this point, so who knows. One day heíll be catching slants with one hand, just being remarkable.
Q: Does coach prefers two hands?
Coach is old school. If we had an extra hand to put on the ball, he would want three hands on it.