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Victor Cruz trying to steal from the Wes Welker playbook

01.28.12 at 6:16 am ET

Wide receivers Wes Welker of the Patriots and Victor Cruz of the Giants finished second and third in the NFL, respectively, in receiving yards, with Welker racking up 1,569 yards and Cruz chewing up 1,536 yards of turf. Both had nine touchdowns this season, both had 99-yard receptions for scores and both were the primary receiving options in their offenses, with Welker recording 122 catches (tops in the NFL) and Cruz catching  82 balls (ninth).

The similarities run deeper than just the statistics, it would seem. Cruz, who went to UMass-Amherst, said at a press conference on Thursday that as he was preparing for life as an NFL slot receiver, he used the man who will be on the opposite sideline in Super Bowl XLVI, watching film of Welker in an effort to identify elements of the Patriots wide receiver’s game that he can pick up for his own.

“Yeah, there’s a little bit of stuff that he does very well. Obviously he catches the ball very well. He’s really quick in and out of his routes and that’s something that I try to imitate while I’m out there and try to be as quick as possible,” Cruz told reporters on Thursday. “Moving laterally is something that I do well and he’s been exceptional at that for years. So I watched a little bit of film on him and I know how good he is and I try to steal a few things from his repertoire.”

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