Giants' Victor Cruz: Sit-down with Ben McAdoo 'needed to be had'

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After a catch-less, target-less game Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh, Victor Cruz needed a sit-down with New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo that he later described as "productive."

A frustrated Cruz wanted answers as to why he didn't even have a chance to catch a pass in a 24-14 loss to the Steelers, and his seemingly diminishing role in the offense.

He thought the meeting went well.

"We had an honest conversation between both of us. He laid it to me straight and I gave him my thoughts as well," Cruz said. "I think it was productive and it ended well. It was a conversation that I guess needed to be had and we had it.

"And now we can turn the page and move on."

Cruz said he agreed with McAdoo "100 percent." He insisted there was no anger or yelling, and that they were on the same page in trying to fix the Giants' offense.

New York (8-4) has struggled badly in recent weeks and hasn't scored 30 points in a game this season. Two weeks ago it was Sterling Shepard without a target; this past week it was Cruz. The offense, which didn't reach 300 total yards in either of those contests, is out of sync.

For whatever reason, the Giants just haven't been able to spread the ball around consistently.

"When you have been as inconsistent as we have on offense, it's a challenge," McAdoo said Monday. "Victor, like everybody else, including myself, wants to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. So my door is always open for any of these guys that want to come in and have a conversation."

Cruz and McAdoo met on Tuesday, and Cruz thinks it will lead to a different outcome against the Cowboys. He expects more opportunities.

"I hope so," he said. "I leave every meeting feeling like that. But obviously there would be concerted efforts to get everyone the football, to get everyone the ball, including myself.

"So I guess the answer to that is sure, yes, it feels like I'll at least be getting one target this week."

Cruz said the final sentence with a smile. He insisted he went into the meeting with his usual team-first approach and didn't demand the ball or additional playing time after undrafted rookie Roger Lewis out-snapped him 29-26 in Pittsburgh.

Now, they move on. All will likely be forgotten if the Giants beat the Cowboys on Sunday night.

Cruz's disgust was more a moment of frustration after Sunday's loss than a bigger problem. He didn't think it was necessary to talk with quarterback Eli Manning about throwing him the ball more often. Cruz has 27 catches for 462 yards this season and leads the team with 17.1 yards per catch.

But Manning planned to chat with Cruz, much as he did with Shepard last week. It hadn't happened as of Tuesday afternoon.

"I just haven't seen him," Manning said. "I'm going to talk to him. I haven't had a chance to get with him yet, but yes, I'll talk to Victor."

Manning admittedly experienced his struggles Sunday in Pittsburgh. He didn't throw the ball as accurately as he would've liked, and finished with a pair of interceptions and less than 200 yards passing.

After reviewing the film, Manning thought opportunities existed to throw the ball to Cruz. It just, for one reason or another, didn't happen.

"There is opportunities to get him the ball," Manning said. "It's just all dependent on reads and coverage."

After almost two full seasons on the sideline with injuries, Cruz isn't concerned about his body holding up. He's convinced handling 50 or 60 snaps 13 games into the season isn't a problem. The lack of touches and production is more a team concern than anything individual.

"I think it's a level of consistency from top to bottom, not just the receivers and tight ends," Cruz said. "Just everyone being on the same page, because it takes all of us to be on the same page to be productive and successful from top to bottom.

"We just have to understand, keep staying the course, keep doing what we're doing because eventually it's going to click. We didn't win six games in a row for no reason without anyone clicking or doing something right."

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