Can the Philadelphia Eagles Contain New York Giants WR Victor Cruz After Allowing Breakout Last Season?
The Eagles will have no excuse this Sunday night if they let the wide-out go off again.
The Giants signed Cruz in 2010 as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Massachusetts, which was only an FCS (previously Division 1-AA) football program throughout Cruz’s career.
The name ‘Victor Cruz’ was first heard by the world after a fantastic preseason performance in his 2010 rookie year, where he caught 6 passes for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns. But the receiver was quickly forgotten about after he failed to catch a single pass during the regular season, before being placed on the IR with an injured hamstring.
Cruz would make sure that he would not fall out of relevance again once the 2011 season came around. The Eagles would be his first victim.
After recording just 2 catches for 17 yards in the Giants’ first two games combined, Cruz exploded against the unsuspecting and under-prepared Eagles, leading the Giants to a 29-16 victory with his 2 touchdown performance.
Even with the Eagles now very aware of Cruz, the wide-out’s second match-up with the birds was even more impressive as he tallied 6 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown.
This year Cruz is on every NFL team’s radar after putting together a remarkable 2011 regular season, totaling 1,536 yards and 9 touchdowns receiving.
Eagles’ cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will have a tough task in front of them on Sunday night as they attempt to cover Cruz. As the Eagles’ (and arguably the league’s) number one CB, Asomugha will likely cover Cruz primarily, with Rodgers-Cromartie assisting in some situations.
The Eagles are very fortunate that the Giants and QB Eli Manning will be without their other starting WR Hakeem Nicks on Sunday, who is battling foot and knee injuries.
This will allow the Eagles’ secondary to focus intently on Cruz, and give them the chance to double and triple cover the star wide-out without having to worry about another serious receiving threat.
Although Giants’ WR Ramses Barden had a breakout game last week (9 catches, 138 yards) against the Carolina Panthers’ horrendous pass defense, I don’t see him being much of a factor against the Eagles.
If Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie and the Eagles’ secondary can shut down Cruz, it will take a miracle for the Giants to claim victory on Sunday night.
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