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Giants WR Victor Cruz on D&C: Eli Manning in Tom Brady’s class

11.04.11 at 10:24 am ET
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Victor Cruz

Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, a second-year player out of UMass, joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday to talk about Sunday’s game between the Giants and Patriots. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Cruz played in three games last season as an undrafted free agent before getting hurt. This season, he has become an important weapon for New York.

“Last year, I used that IR year to just learn the playbook, understand how the NFL works, really get acclimated to playing in the NFL mentally,” he said. “This year it’s just being confident, understanding what’s being asked of me, and understanding the playbook and learning the intricacies of the NFL. And I believe that hard work has been beneficial for me so far.”

Giants quarterback Eli Manning said before the season that he considers himself in a class with Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. This week, Manning refused to back off those comments, and Cruz supports him “most definitely.”

“I think a lot of people forget that he’s a Super Bowl MVP quarterback,” Cruz said. “He’s done some great things in some tough situations in the past. Playing in New York is tough. You don’t get a lot of the credit. A lot of people see a lot of the bad things and kind of harp on that. But he’s a great quarterback and I think should be up there with the Bradys and the Rodgers and guys like that. Because he’s doing those same things.”

The Steelers touched the Patriots with a passing attack Sunday, but Cruz said he expects his team’s strategy will feature more of a balanced attack this weekend.

“I feel like [the Steelers] were just stretching the defense,” he said. “They were keeping them on their toes. They didn’t know what was coming. They threw something like 50 passes that game. It was just a complete aerial attack and things like that. I think we’re going to try and follow that route. … But I think in order for us to be successful, we’re going to have to run the football. Running the football’s going to be one of the things we focus on, because that will keep the defense honest and keeps them on their toes and they won’t know what’s coming.”

Cruz made a memorable catch earlier this season (video below) when he outdueled two Seahawks defenders to reel in a tipped pass from Manning with one hand and turned it into a 68-yard touchdown.

“I hear about it all the time,” Cruz said. “It was a great play for me. I still don’t know how I even made that catch. I just try to do the best I can and when the ball’s thrown my way just make the best play on it. That ended up being an unbelievable one.”

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