With the New York Giants' training camp just a few days, all signs are pointing toward wide receiver Victor Cruz being ready to practice. Keep in mind that Cruz is recovering from a torn patella tendon--an injury that is known to sap athletes of their explosion.
Cruz is a wide receiver who wins with savvy route running and by creating separation in and out of his breaks through lateral agility and explosion. These are the traits that make him unique, and these are the traits that all Giants fan will need to keep an eye on.
Having said that, it's not like Cruz is a slow guy. He has compiled plenty of long touchdowns over his career with the Giants, thanks to his breakaway ability. There is a lot of buzz surrounding Cruz's return, and recent comments by teammate Prince Amukamara should only add to the hype.
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In a recent interview on Jordan Raanan's podcast, "Talk Is Cheap", Amukamara spoke glowingly about what he's seen from Cruz so far:
"I trained with Cruz for one day down in Arizona ‐ and he just came in for a day because he was in town ‐ and I'm telling you, this guy looked fab... I'm telling you," Cruz told Raanan, per True Jersey. "Remember that I said this. This guy looks faster now than he did before," Amukamara said. "I was just looking at him and was like, 'Man, how is this possible?'"
Getting back to top speed is one hurdle for Cruz to jump over, but he also needs to prove that he can separate in his routes the same way he used to. According to Amukamara, Cruz's speed is not the only thing that has been so impressive so far.
"It could be [he's faster] or it could be I haven't seen him run in a long time and he just looks crisp," Amukamara said.
"But I keep telling him. 'Man, you look faster. You look faster' and stuff like that. He looks so good, so polished. He does not look like he missed a step."
If Cruz truly hasn't missed a step, and he returns to the field as the same wide receiver he has always been, the Giants' offense has a chance to be lethal in 2015. With the addition of Shane Vereen as a receiving threat out of the backfield, the Giants are loaded with weapons for Eli Manning to deliver the ball to.
The offensive line is certainly a question mark, but OC Ben McAdoo's scheme is built to get the ball out of Manning's hand fast. This style of offense can negate the impact of a group of linemen who can't always hold up in pass protection.
Keep an eye out for Cruz as we make our way through the first couple of weeks of camp. He is a key component to the Giants' success in 2015.
(h/t True Jersey)