Cruz’s most recent statement is a far departure from his comments immediately following the trip. The veteran wideout told WFAN’s Mike Francesca shortly after the trip “we get photographed everywhere we go. Whether it’s Miami or New York City, it doesn’t matter. I mean, obviously, we understand it’s news, but if it ain’t about Green Bay, we’re not talking about it.”
Cruz caught three balls on four targets for 30 yards in New York’s loss in Green Bay, while Odell Beckham dropped three passes on 11 targets and earned the brunt of the criticism.
Entering the offseason, most analysts pegged the O-line as the biggest need. Giants GM Jerry Reese struck out on the free-agent market, with his only addition being disappointing backup D.J. Fluker. The Giants then didn’t draft an offensive tackle until their final pick of last weekend’s draft (Adam Bisnowaty, with the 200th overall selection). Reese then added two players from the undrafted free-agent pool in tackle Chad Wheeler and guard Jessamen Dunker.
The lack of top-shelf additions leaves 23-year-old Ereck Flowers and 22-year-old Bobby Hart manning the tackle spots in New York. Entering the season with the same disappointing group that struggled last year might be frustrating to Giants fans, but Reese insists this is the season the young players will make the leap.
I wouldn’t call [signing former Jets Brandon Marshall and Geno Smith] stealing. I’d just call it making moves. The Giants know what they’re doing, and I’m with them.
[Covering our wide receivers] won’t be no problem. Camp lasts for like three months. Everybody gets to cover each other, however many times they want. We’ll make each other better. We’ll have arguments. At the end of the day, they know, we know, the organization knows we’re still a team, and that will come with competing and having fun to get to the next level.
The Giants admitted this year that Eli Manning is on the “back nine” of his career. With Manning turning 36 years old, New York is prudent to begin thinking about a successor.
Webb entered the draft with most analysts believing he needs time to mature into a starting-caliber quarterback. Learning behind Iron Man Manning could be the best education if Webb is to be the next torchbearer in New York. Of course, some Giants fans thought they had the next hot young project when they used a 2013 fourth-round pick on Ryan Nassib, who is now a free agent.
Of all the starts and sputters of the New York Giants’ offense in their frustrating 24-19 loss to the Eagles — which forestalled the Giants clinching a playoff berth and secured the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs for the Dallas Cowboys — this was the least expected one.
After the game, a visibly irritated Beckham left the field and had to be led by security to the locker room. He also was captured on camera growling to himself outside of the locker room. He later blamed himself for the failure on a play that would have given the Giants their only lead of the night — the only one that mattered.
The Packers, a perennial NFC powerhouse, were left for dead leading up to Thanksgiving. Their two-time MVP quarterback faced more scrutiny in the previous month than the past 11 seasons combined. The injury-ravaged defense reached a level of ineptitude not seen since the pre-Lombardi days. The Green Bay faithful were ready to run team architects Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy out of town.
The only way out of that 4-6 hole was to run the table over the final six games. The defense welcomed back reinforcements, Ty Montgomery metamorphosed from an afterthought wide receiver to the No. 1 tailback and — most importantly — Aaron Rodgers channeled his MVP magic as the sport’s unparalleled quarterback talent.