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SBXLVI Media Day: WR Victor Cruz


(on what he and fellow receivers Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham bring to the table) "I think that we do a lot of things well. Obviously, we are very similar in a lot of ways, but we do a lot of different things. Hakeem stretches the field, I'm more of the slot guy inside doing good things, and Mario is just a quick guy on the outside. Us as receievers have done some pretty good things to kind of change the image of the New York Giants a little bit (into) more of a balanced team (with) more passing, a little running and that balance has helped us get to where we are today."

(on if he ever thought that he would be in this position) "Honestly, no. When you're sitting up in Bridgeton Academy in Maine, you're just thinking about what you can do to get yourself into college. At that moment, I had no thoughts of the Super Bowl, nothing like that."

(on how he made it to this point in his career) "Just a lot of hard work. A lot of determination. Understanding that whatever options and opportunities come my way, I got to break through and make sure that I do what I can to go through those doors that weren't open for me before."

(on if the Giants receiving corps has talked about the possibility that one of the receivers could win MVP) "Not yet. We just want to go out and win this game. We understand that this is the Super Bowl and as hard as it is to get here, we just want to focus on that and make sure that we're all prepared to win the game. We all subconsciously understand that one of us could possibly get the MVP, and, whoever it is, we'll all be happy for each other and we'll be able to hoist up that Lombardi Trophy at the end of the game."

(on how the New England defense has changed) "They've had a little bit of a carousel defensively in the defensive back position, and it's something that we're really looking at, just to understand how they play and how comfortable they may be back there. We just have to come in when the game starts and see how they play us and adjust accordingly."

(on the team's confidence level) "It's pretty high. Coming in, you understand all the good things that you do well, and you understand that you came off a good game in the NFC Championship. You just want to continue that. My confidence has been high pretty much through the latter part of the season, and I just want to continue that."

(on what it is like to represent the University of Massachusetts) "It's wild, man. Just to come from where I come from, and being from Massachusetts, it's just amazing."

(on whether he feels that the New England pass defense is an area of vulnerability) "A little bit. Mainly because of the whirlwind that (New England) has had at that position, and just having guys in and out of there. We understand that that's a position and spot that we can capitalize on, but we just have to take it play by play, game by game. Hopefully that's a spot we can exploit a little bit and take advantage of, but we just have to see how the game goes. We'll feel it out as it goes on."

(on his relationship with Manningham and Nicks) "We're great friends, we talk all the time. We were together last night for dinner and we were just talking, soaking in this entire experience and feeling how special it is to ge there. Us three guys, we come from similar backgrounds. Once I got to talking with them this whole year, it's really amazing how much we have in common and how much of our upbringings we had that were so similar to each other. I wouldn't want to do (this) with any other guys but those two."

(on Manningham as a third option) "It's amazing. That guy, he's a starter if he goes anywhere else in this league. For him to humble himself and allow me to come up, and to not really have any (problems) with that, I really thank him all the time. It's one of those things that could have easily gone sour, and could have easily went the other direction. For him to accept that role, and he's been doing phenomenally for us in that third receiver position. It's just great, and a true testament to his professionalism and how much of a great person he is."

(on the end-of-week meeting with quarterback Eli Manning) "We just go in there and talk about things that (Manning) sees and things that we could potentially take advantage of in the defense. He has a set of about 15 or 20 plays that we look at and we go through different scenarios, different play-calls that we could possibly have on that specific down and distance or coverage. We just see where we can exploit it. It's just one of those things that we can make sure as an offense and as a receiving corps that we understand what we want to do. It's a good way to close out the week, refresh everybody and keep everybody on the same page."

(on the type of resource that Eli Manning is for a young receiver) "It's huge to have a guy that has been to the Super Bowl, won it, and has done some really good things (as) our leader. For him to be there, for him to talk to us and let us know what to expect and how he felt in certain situations has just been an amazing experience."

(on what he sees when he looks at New England wide receiver Julian Edelman playing at cornerback) "I see he's very raw at that position, obviously, because it's not his dominant position, but he's quick, he's fast, and he carries over a lot of the receiver stuff over to (cornerback), so we'll see how it goes. Obviously, it's going to be a position and an area that we'll test out really early and see how it goes and how the game flows."

(on whether he might retire his salsa-dancing celebration following this season) "No. I'm going to keep that going for as long as I'm playing in the NFL catching footballs, that salsa's with me."

(on Eli Manning's high level of play in the fourth quarter)  "It's kind of hard to explain, because there is nothing that changes through the course of the game. He just understands that in the fourth (quarter), he needs to be even more accurate than he's been the entire game prior to that. It's a real testament to his hard work and work ethic, because he's just been dominant in the fourth quarter and really doing some good things."

(on how excited he is about the possibility of winning the Super Bowl) "It's huge. I think about it all the time. It's just a surreal moment for me. Once, God willing, we win it, it's just going to be a moment that I'll treasure forever."

(on whether he's seen the rings from the Giants' 2008 Super Bowl XLII Championship) "A few trainers and a few guys had their rings on. I'm jealous. I want one to have on my own finger and hopefully I'll get one this Sunday."

(on what it means to him to look back at how far he has come) "It means a lot. Coming from Paterson, New Jersey, a small town, and being able to climb through all the adversity and climb through everything that I had to face this year has been an amazing journey for me. I wouldn't trade it in for anything in the world."

(on how he thinks his nerves will react on game day) "I think I'll be all right. Prior to the game, I always get butterflies. Every game I get a little anxiety because I just want to get out there and play. But I think once that ball is kicked off and once we have that ball in our hands and we're calling plays (that) it will be just like any other game. I think I'll be all right. I think I'll be calm and cool."

(on his advice to college athletes) "Never let anyone tell you no. Never let anyone tell you that you can't make it or that you can't do something. Always strive for greatness and do your best. There were times a lot of people told me I couldn't do something or I couldn't make it, or that I would never make the grades. My thing is just to maintain focus and do everything you can to make it here. If you really have the drive and determination, you'll make it."

(on what he thinks of the Super Bowl atmosphere in Indianapolis) "This is my first Super Bowl that I've ever been to, but it's good. There's a lot of good people around here, it's a good environment. A lot of people love football around here and it's a good crowd to be around."

(on how difficult New England is to plan for) "Offensively, it's not that difficult. You prepare for it the same as any other defense. Obviously, seeing a receiver playing defensive back is definitely a matchup you want to test out early in the game just to see how it's going to go and how it fares."

(on whether he looks forward to being lined up against Julian Edelman) "I'm just looking forward to being lined up across from anybody. Whoever it is, just being a receiver and being a competitor, you want to go out there and prove yourself on the biggest stage in the world."

(on his reaction to being undrafted) "I wasn't really shocked. I understood the process and understood that I wasn't a guy that had blazing statistics, or was 6-6, 230 (pounds), or anything like that. I understood that I probably wasn't going to get drafted and would just have to make the best of my opportunities and make the best of coming in as a practice squad guy and as a free agent, and just do the best I could to break through on the team."

(on his offseason workouts with Eli Manning) "It was good for me to just come in and really build a rapport with Eli and a relationship with him on the field, and to catch his footballs the way he throws them. Just to really get an early bead on how he likes to throw the ball and get some of the terminology down and start hearing him call some of the plays. It was just good for me, coming off a year where I didn't play after Game 3 (of the season), I just wanted to get some of the rust off."

(on his big-play ability) "I don't know. I ask myself that all the time. When the ball is in my hands, my overall will and desire to just score and break tackles just overwhelms me and I just try to do the best I can with the ball in my hands. Sometimes that results in some long touchdown catches."

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