Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Cruz Shows Control

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Cruz Shows Control

Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD - Victor Cruz ran the best route of his comeback in the first quarter of the Giants' 17-9 victory over the Patriots in their preseason finale Thursday night at MetLife Stadium.

If only quarterback Ryan Nassib had looked his way.

Cruz stared across at Patriots Pro Bowl cornerback Malcolm Butler, shook him at the line with a clean release and sprinted along the right sideline in front of the Giants' bench.

The former Pro Bowl wide receiver was so open he raised his hand in an attempt to get Nassib's attention, but to no avail. The football went up the seam instead to tight end Larry Donnell, but Nassib's aerial sailed incomplete.

The Giants wanted evidence that Cruz is not only healthy, but that he can win consistently against defenders at full speed. That's one of the reasons the Paterson native was playing in his second game since his devastating knee injury now 23 months ago.

While Cruz didn't touch the ball, he certainly showed enough to earn the Giants' trust.

"Just great to be able to see him out there," wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said of Cruz, who made one catch for four yards in 41 combined snaps the past two weeks, his reception coming last Saturday night against the Jets. "He's looks like he's feeling good, he's ready for the season and I know we're all excited."

Beckham, Eli Manning, center Weston Richburg and the starting defensive line of Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins and Damon Harrison were among those watching the game's entirety from the sideline.

The rest of the starting offensive line - left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Justin Pugh, right guard John Jerry and right tackle Marshall Newhouse with Brett Jones at center - did not show enough in nine snaps to ease concerns from a shaky summer, nor should have there been the expectation to do so. …

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