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Quotes (9/26): WR Cruz. CB Amukamara

WR Victor Cruz

Q: I am sure you are physically worn out from the two games in such a short period of time. The way you guys are playing, do you almost wish you can get back on the field faster?
A: Absolutely, I love to continue putting this offense to the test and we feel really confident in our abilities right now, but we definitely need the much-needed rest. We will take advantage to get our guys healthy and prepare for our next game.

Q: Is this the way you pictured it? Is this the way you thought it was going to work?
A: Absolutely, it is definitely what we worked hard to do. Obviously, we didn't…going 0-2 to start, but we just wanted to get ourselves back on track and win these two games in a short week, so we can be starting at 2-2 with a nice short break and getting ready for our next opponent.

Q: When this offense is clicking from your perspective, how much fun is it to play in?
A: It is a ton of fun, man, it's a ton of fun, to be able to run different types of routes and catch the ball at different parts of the field and different areas of the field. We are excited for that opportunity. We are excited to continue to catch the ball well and do good things, this offense is a lot of fun.

Q: How do you like motioning out next to Eli Manning in the shot gun? Do you think that is an opportunity to maybe get you out in space a little more?
A: I love it. I love the opportunity; I got the ball twice from the backfield already. Just the chance to give me the ball and operate in some space, and do some good things in that area. It is just another way that coach (Ben) McAdoo has been able to give me the ball and be positive.

Q: It was a short week, only so much you can do coming into the week. How much does that help the offense that you kind of know what to expect from the defense? They can't scheme too much specifically against you.
A: I think it is good. Obviously, if coach coach (Tom) Coughlin could have it differently, he would have us out there practicing and getting our full speed reps. We understand that it is a mental game on our end and we have to prepared to face a good team in Washington and face good teams on the other end and be prepared. It also gives the other team a short amount of time to prepare as well, defensively. You know you have an advantage that way, but you want to make sure you are ready and prepared when you….as well.

Q: As you look back on the four games, it is obviously a very different team than it was the first two, is there a moment that stands out in your mind as to when it clicked for the offense?
A: Not a specific moment. I think it just was when Larry Donnell started getting going. I think when Larry Donnell started to come on and catch the ball and make some plays for us. I think that is when things kind shifted and things went in our way a little bit. It was definitely something that we needed to happen, someone to step up and make some big plays, and Larry Donnell has done that for us.

Q: When did you realize that this was possible for Larry Donnell?
A: I think since last year. I have seen him, I know exactly what type of athlete he is. I see him in practice each and every day. I see the type of plays that he makes, and I know it is just a matter of him getting his opportunity and him making the best of it. I knew once he got it this year, with the style of offense that we have, it definitely makes well for an athletic tight end to do some positive things. I think he filled that void for us.

Q: How does Larry Donnell compare with some of the other guys? The other tight ends you played with like Martellus Bennett and Jake Ballard? Is he different or is he similar to them in any way?
A: I think he is similar. I think he has different traits. I think he is more of a Marcellus Bennett because of his athleticism and things like that. I think Larry Donnell is just a sheer athlete, I think he understands how to go up and get the ball wherever it is and understand how to position his body. I think that is because of his basketball background. It definitely helps having him there, but I think he ranks up there with the last tight ends that we had.

Q: Of all of the factors in the revival of this offense, how big has the protection been in the play of the offensive line?
A: It is huge, it is huge. He obviously, to get everything going, keeping Eli Manning upright and keeping him in a position where he can deliver the ball and deliver it to his receivers, his playmakers, and have us do the rest. I think having him upright is a credit to our offensive line and the things that they have done to keep him standing up straight and delivering the football and making all of those big plays that we have been making. Our offensive line is definitely the most unheralded group, but they definitely deserve some credit in these four games so far.

Q: You saw the film this summer when the offense was struggling and a lot of that seemed to be because of a leak on the line, or Eli Manning having to run for his life a little bit. I know you had faith in them, but are you surprised with how quickly things seem to come together for them?
A: No, I see it every day in practice, so I understand exactly how this team has come together and it was just a matter of when it was going to click. I think it finally clicked for us these last two games, it is just a matter of sustaining that and continuing to build on the positive things that we have done.

Q: Do you still get a kick out of seeing a scrambling Eli Manning running for a touchdown?
A: It is always fun seeing Eli Manning scrambling and getting to the end zone. Mainly because he is not accustomed to doing that, it's never something that….it is almost like seeing a UFO or seeing a unicorn or something like that, but it is cool. We will take it, I know Eli Manning will take it anytime we get a chance to put points up on the board we will take it, but it is definitely fun to see Eli Manning get in the end zone.

Q: The play last night, the seven second play. Can you take us through that and where your mind was? Were you able to see the clock at all?
A: No, I saw that there was seven seconds left so I knew once the ball was in the air coming into my direction, I didn't have any time to wait. So I wanted to catch it, get my feet in bounds, and slide out of bounds as quickly as possible. It ended up being a…for us that it ended up leaving one second and exactly how we schemed it up.

Q: You were talking a couple seconds ago about how you felt things would change. A week ago you were 0-2, everybody is on Eli Manning's case, the defense isn't getting turnovers. Are you sitting there going, "it is amazing that a week later everyone is looking at us as a good team"?
A: I am not sure. It is just a credit to the hard work that we put in. I think that we all knew this thing was going to click at some point and we were taking steps as the early part of the season went on, the first two games went on. You could see the progression in our offense and it was just a matter of when it was going to happen. We kicked up right at the right time in order for us to keep our goals in task and continue to head in the right direction.

Q: How do you view the eleven days now between the games? From one perspective, you guys get to rest up and on the other side you are kind of moving well here, how do you view that big break between the two games and how do you move forward with that?
A: We are just looking forward to it, taking it one game at a time, that is all we can do, is focus on short term goals and prepare for every week, every game. Understanding exactly what schemes and the type of teams that we play to just get a leg up on our opponent and just taking it one game at a time. We understand exactly what it takes. We have a good leadership core on this team that knows what it takes to make it to the postseason and win in the post season. We just want to take advantage of that and take it one week at a time and see what happens at the end.

Q: Do you give a guy like Larry Donnell any kind of advice? Just kind of because you have the same kind of background, staying level headed as his maturation takes place here.
A: I understand the type of guy Larry Donnell is. Obviously, if he needs advice, he can come to me at any given time, but I think he is a guy that understands his role. Understands what type of guy he is and from the type of guy I know he is, he will be just fine, he won't be big headed or anything like that. He understands that there is still a lot of work to be done from everyone, not just himself. He understands it, but it is nothing wrong with enjoying the things that he has done on the field so far because they are very impressive and he knows that. He knows that there is a lot of work to be done and I think he will definitely stay level-headed.

Q: You are sort of used to being in the spotlight and Eli Manning and other players like that. Is it fun to watch a guy step into the spotlight for the first time? He comes to the podium yesterday and things like that.
A: Absolutely, it is fun to see one of my teammates being put in that spotlight a little bit and getting his accolades that he deserves. He is a guy that anytime wants that hard work and you see a guy working that hard and it starts to pay off for him, it is something that you enjoy. You do get motivated for him from it. I am inspired by him, it makes me play harder, makes me want to get as many touchdowns as Larry Donnell, get as many catches…..He definitely inspired me and I know he is inspiring other teammates as well.

CB Prince Amukamara

Q: Can you talk about playing next to DRC [Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie] and what his impact has been on your play?
A: Playing next to DRC has been great. I had another great corner that I got to play with by the name of Corey Webster and I am just a sponge when I am around guys like that. I am always learning. Always learning a lot from them because of their reputation and the plays they've made and all the knowledge they have. Especially with DRC, now you guys can see like last night a lot of balls didn't go his way. I think he probably had one target. I am going to get a lot of opportunities to make a lot of plays because of DRC's presence.

Q: What is something he has taught you that you felt has made a difference?
A: DRC plays with a lot of confidence. He has that true corner swag mentality. He's like, 'This guy is not going to catch a ball on me or I am going to make a play today or if this guy does make a play, I am going to make a play after this.' I build off of that and that brushes upon me.

Q: There has been a lot of talk about you guys being as good as the Seattle Seahawks defensive backfield… Are you guys starting to believe that you can be as good as that group?
A: One thing about our secondary that I have been saying since the beginning is that we have a lot of depth. A lot of guys can come in and make plays. As you see with Trumaine [McBride], he stepped up and made some plays. At the end, [Zack] Bowman almost had a pick also. That just shows that whatever coach feels like calling, the scheme works. We just have to do our job as players to go and make the plays.

Q: Do you think you guys can be or are the best secondary in the NFL right now?
A: That is definitely our goal, to be the number one defense in the NFL. I think last year we were top 10. I think our goal as a secondary is to get as many turnovers as we can because it helps the offense.

Q: Are you surprised at how quickly things have turned around for this team?
A: No, not at all. We have always known the potential that has been on this team and with the leaders we have. I am just glad that no one kept their head down and everyone just kept with it when we were 0-2. I know it is easy to get down on yourself when you lose games, but we knew the games we lost, the other team made plays, but we definitely were our own worst enemy with the penalties and assignment busts. We know that if we eliminate all those things we have a great chance to win ball games.

Q: What do you feel like you learned last year when Corey Webster went down and you were the number one corner [facing opposing team's number one receiver]?
A: I have to be on top of my game every single week and knowing that because I am guarding the team's top receiver, that the ball is probably going to come my side most of the time. I am learning to not take a play off and just play as if the ball is coming to my guy.

Q: Have you noticed if the pass rush is having a big effect on the opposing quarterbacks in the last two weeks?
A: Up front, like you said, the pressure is definitely getting there. With Kiwi [Mathias Kiwanuka], JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul], Robert Ayers Jr., Cullen [Jenkins], Mike Patterson and maybe even some linebackers, The pressure is definitely getting there. When you have guys in the quarterback's face or are just moving the quarterback around, that helps us as a secondary. When we hold our guys in good coverage it allows the defensive line to get more sacks. We definitely play hand-in-hand.

Q: I know you said last night Perry [FewQell] said he wanted the defense to be more 'Zack Bowman like'… Talk about how helpful he has been with your interceptions? Do you give him a hard time because he is the only one that doesn't have [an interception]?
A: That is only due to limited number of reps, but I know for a fact if he is in the game, he is definitely going to get a pick because he is always in the right spot and probably has the best hands on the team. I know that if he does get in there, he definitely is going to get a pick and that was almost the case last night.

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