QB Eli Manning
August 25, 2016
Q: Any early impressions of what you saw from number 80 out there?
A: I thought Victor had a good week of practice. It was good to have him back. He looked explosive, fast and healthy. He was making plays. That little rest he got paid off and itís good to see him. Excited to see him on a game day and to see him in some live action.
Q: Did you make an effort to feed him in practice this week at all?
A: No, just going through my reads and trying to stick with what I normally do. Having faith with all the guys who are out there, whoever is running routes and just sticking with the progression Iíve been taught to do. It seems like he got a few opportunities to make some plays so thatís good.
Q: Especially with him inside running those routes that heís been running, is there something to be said about being at the right place at the right time and being where youíre supposed to be that makes it more fluent for you guys? It seemed like that at the practice that we saw on Tuesday and that seemed to get him going.
A: Yes, obviously in football a lot of it is just having the right routes against the right coverages and the right timing. I think heís had a good understanding of the timing of this offense and when the ball is going to be coming his way. Heís always been a special guy in the slot just having a good feel. Giving sticks and itís been easy for me to read his body language when heís coming in and out of breaks. Itís good that we still have that.
Q: What do you recall about his famous night against the Jets in 2011 when he caught three touchdowns?
A: I think I was getting stitches in my head. I think I missed a lot of it. I saw a few of it on TV in the locker room. I saw it in the game film and he made plays. I know he had a fade down the left sideline, made a one-handed catch, had a back shoulder catch, a couple that were fade routes. Obviously a big part of him making the team was that night, stepping up and making plays.
Q: He was number three back then?
A: He was. It was Victor Cruz before anyone even knew who Victor Cruz was. He made a name for himself that night.
Q: How about the 99-yard catch and run? What do you recall about that?
A: Great play. We were backed up on the one-yard line, end of the second quarter. Just did a little out route to him versus a two zone. Tight throw, he ran a great route, caught it while feeling the cornerback, was able to side-step him, show his speed and get a 99-yard touchdown. A huge play for us winning that game and making the playoffs that year that led to a Super Bowl.
Q: We know youíre always so calm but do you allow yourself to get anxious and butterflies for a teammate like Victor? Iím sure youíre anticipating the eagerness of wanting to throw him a pass and getting that completion out of the way.
A: I donít think itís nervous or anxious. Iím excited for him. Heís a long time teammate and friend. I know what heís been through and I know itís been a tough road these last two years. I know he wants to be out there so Iím excited for him to have that possibility. Obviously itís preseason, it would be nice to get him out there but when it comes to the regular season to get him some action, some catches, a touchdown, that would be special.
Q: Has his footwork in practice, those quick moves, stood out to you more this week?
A: I think itís been a while since heís had to move around like that. I think those are things that have always probably come really natural to him. He just has to get used to doing it again. He has to get used to catching the ball, making that first defender miss, where heís not thinking about anything. Just thinking about catching it and acting normal. Itís what he naturally does. I think it takes a little time to trust it and realize that heís still got it, but it seems like heís moving that way.
Q: Do you look at trying to get him the ball early? Maybe look at him a little bit more because youíre trying to get him action, trying to see what he can do?
A: It doesnít always work that way. Hopefully it works out and we can get him the ball, but itíll depend on the coverage, on the play, and whatís going on. Iím not going to bypass somebody to get him a catch in a preseason game. Hopefully it works out, and if heís out there enough he should get a catch.
Q: How have you guys balanced this week, not freaking out over the past two preseason games but having an urgency to get things right for the third preseason game?
A: Our focus has been on this week. We understand that this has been about as close as our game week schedule will be. The game planning, from the practice schedule, and everything thatís going on. I thought we had a good week of practice, a good urgency. The tempo was better, fixing things and cleaning up things. The practice was better. We just have to put the practice onto the field. We have to do it on game day and make the plays when they count.
Q: What will a healthy Victor Cruz do for you and this offense?
A: Heís a talented player. If he can get healthy it gives us another playmaker and a guy that can play the outside and the inside. When you have receivers that can play multiple, like Victor, like Odell, like Sterling, you can move guys around and itís harder to game plan for certain teams. Weíre going to try and be versatile with that and having him be part of that action. Having a guy you can trust and have that chemistry with is important.