WR Victor Cruz
September 21, 2016
Q: The team put the ball on the ground three times last week. Is ball security something you guys are working on this week?
A: Absolutely. Obviously, putting the ball on the ground three times is not something we want make a trend, or something that we want to continue doing. So we want to make sure that we pay attention to detail, pay attention to the little things. Ball security is definitely one of those little things that we need to clean up a little bit.
Re: being productive offensively
A: Just stay disciplined to your route running, stay disciplined to the scheme, stay disciplined to what coach has put in place for us to succeed. That's what's going to, ultimately, be the deciding factor is that we stayed focused. I think the more focused and the more disciplined team this week is going to be the one to win. As we know, every division game is always a close one. It's always tooth and nail. We're always going to fight, we're always going to get everybody's best shot and we have to be able to combat that.
Q: Can the receivers not being shadowed be an advantage?
A: We'll. It's tough to tell. It's something that we just have to go into the game and see how it happens, how it shakes out, how it works, and take what's being presented in front of us. Obviously, we have confidence in our ability that we can make plays and go out there and do what we do against the opposition. We just want to see what they give us and be able to attack off of that.
Q: Do you think Odell is in a better position to handle things if Josh Norman gets a little pushy with him?
A: I think so. I think mentally he's in a different place. I think from a mental standpoint, he's in a completely different place than he was a year ago. I think he understands what's being asked of him and how to conduct himself on the field and understand that it's just business. We're out there to win a game and then we're on to the next week. It's nothing personal with anyone else. There's nothing that we have to handle, nothing that we have to combat. It's always the game within the game. But we have to understand that, that's not what it's all about. It's about a team game, winning, and everyone going out there and being disciplined and winning the football game.
Q: Have you ever seen a rivalry between a cornerback and a receiver get as personal as this one?
A: A little bit. Obviously, not over the line. But, obviously the Andre Johnson, well, that was a few years back, but nothing like this, to be honest with you. Nothing back and forth. It is what it is. We just have to be able to understand that we have to be the more disciplined team and we have to be the more mentally tough team and go in there knowing what we're going to expect and being able to come out victorious.
Q: Do you think Odell could end this on the field with a big performance?
A: I hope it's been ended already. It's just you guys that continue to write about it and keep it alive. I just want to go out there and win. I want Odell to have a gazillion receiving yards and a gazillion touchdowns and we'll see what happens after that.
Q: Do you think cornerbacks try guys more when they're young and as they get older they maybe say less to them?
A: Not necessarily. I think younger guys coming into the league have to earn their keep and they're going to be tested. Obviously, older guys that have been in the league a little bit understand the game. They're going to talk to the younger guys and try and get in their heads. I would if I were a corner, it's a natural thing. But there's levels to it, obviously. And there's a way to do it respectfully and there's a way to do it within the parameters of the game. So, that's all we ask for.
Q: From your time going against Josh Norman, what do you see from him as a cornerback?
A: Well, I haven't gone against him yet. I've been obviously gone, it's been well-documented how long I've been gone. But on film, I see that he's very sound. He has very long arms. He likes to be physical, he likes to be up on the line of scrimmage and get in the receiverís faces a little bit. So it's a challenge. We're going to face different corners each and every week with different styles. We just have to be able to combat those styles and be able to win our individual matchups.
Q: Who's been your biggest rival? Anyone that stands out?
A: Me and Carlos Rogers had some good times together. Orlando Scandrick is always one that's checked off back in my slot days and what not. That's pretty much it. Who else? We got Ike Taylor, he was always a good talker when we played our few times. At the end of the day, with those guys, there was always respect. We always came up to each other after the game and shook hands and it was a good battle and something that we're going to continue to do year-in and year-out, to just battle and have respect for each other.
Q: Do you think your presence on the field will help diffuse anything?
A: I hope so. That's definitely the plan, is to understand what's going on, from a leadership perspective and go into the game understanding what's happening and being able to diffuse. Not just with Odell, and holding him back, but being able to, if things go awry, being able to talk to both parties and being like 'hey guys, this is bigger than just us. There are kids that watch this game, there are kids that emulate us, want to be us. We have to set an example. And what happened last year isn't the example we want to set.'
Q: Is it harder to control your emotions on the field than it looks?
A: Not necessarily because underlying all those emotions is respect. We understand where each other comes from, we understand that a lot of us that are in this league, especially minorities, we come from nothing. We've made it to this pinnacle, we made it to this level and there's a respect factor there. Although there is a lot of emotion, things may happen, there's combat, so things may happen back and forth but we leave it on that play and onto the next one. And then, we show respect to the opponent after the game is over.