With the installation of a new offense, everyone knew it would take some time for the New York Giants to get things rolling offensively. Through two games the results haven’t been great, and a lot of the blame is being heaped upon Eli Manning. As the quarterback, he deserves some of the blame, but not all, especially Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, can be placed on him. Instead, it should go toward who is supposed to be Manning’s most reliable and talented player on the offense, Victor Cruz.
Things are difficult enough for Manning, as the Giants are lacking weapons on the offensive side of the ball. The one weapon they didn’t think they would have to worry about was Cruz, but through two games, he has been far from reliable.
After a disappointing Week 1 performance against the Detroit Lions, in which he had only two catches for 24 yards on six targets, Cruz said in interviews that he should get the ball more. The Giants listened, and against the Cardinals, Cruz was targeted a game-high 10 times by Manning. But Cruz was unable to back up his talk during the week, as he dropped a number of important passes that changed the course of the game.
With the Giants clinging to a 14-13 lead, Cruz dropped a crucial third-down pass that would have easily picked up the first down and kept the Giants’ drive alive. Instead, the Giants were forced to punt, and Steve Weatherford’s punt was returned for a touchdown by Ted Ginn. It gave the Cardinals the lead and all the momentum they needed to get the victory.
Cruz was given more chances later in the game to redeem himself, and again he came up short. Cruz dropped two more passes later in the fourth quarter, once again letting down Manning and the Giants as they attempted to come from behind and regain the lead.
Cruz is supposed to be their most consistent player, a security blanket of sorts for Manning as he works underneath and in the middle of the field. He has been far from that through two weeks, as Manning has developed a rapport with tight end Larry Donnell. The TE has actually been Manning’s favorite target in the early going, leading the Giants in targets, receptions and yards. It is nice seeing someone is stepping up at the tight end position for the Giants, but if he continues to be Manning’s favorite and most reliable target, they are in trouble.
If the Giants are to turn things around offensively, Cruz improving would help immensely. Without Cruz being the dynamic receiver the Giants know he is capable of being, this offense will go nowhere. The lack of talent hurts, but when the talent you already have isn’t performing, it makes things that much more difficult. Cruz isn’t the prototypical No. 1 WR but he has shown in the past the ability to be the go-to option for this team. The Giants need Cruz to get things going, and quickly, or this season will be another long one for Big Blue.