Defining Cruz And Manningham

So Victor Cruz has broken out. In a big, big way. And now the man he replaced, Mario Manningham, is coming back. So what happens?

Here’s the issue. Cruz and Manningham are both outside receivers. They work better on the outside, by the sideline. If you notice, every time Cruz has made an impact (that preseason Jets game, this past Eagles game) he’s been working outside. He’s not a slot receiver. He’s an outside receiver.

Let’s define a slot receiver: These are the quick guys, can get open, and find soft spots in zone. Think Wes Welker, or Steve Smith. Those guys are the prototypical slot receivers. They run precise  routes. They’re not going to blow by you, but they find a way to get open. Cruz and Manningham are not these guys.

They are big, fast. They can blow by guys. They can go over the top. They make big plays.

So what do you do? You can’t put Cruz in the slot, because he’s miscast there. Same with Manningham. Brandon Stokley  is going to be the slot receiver. I think Manningham is going to remain in his position. I think he’s better than Cruz, and quite frankly, Cruz only did it once in the regular season. Manningham has proven to be a legit number 2 receiver in the NFL.

So what do you do with Cruz? Well you can use Cruz as a sort of run and shoot type player. Use him in those wheel routes that the Giants used a bunch yesterday. Have both him and Manningham line up and go deep.

The Giants have an opportunity to be creative here. If Cruz is to continue his ways as a threat, and if Manningham comes back healthy, that’s just one more weapon to look out for. This is a good problem to have. How they deal with it could either really help the offense, or hurt it. We’ll find out.

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18 Responses to “Defining Cruz And Manningham”

  1. CMH says:

    When you go 3 wides can you put Hicks in the slot? His size and strength would create some mismatches.

  2. David Hayes says:

    Just to be clear, I believe Cruz had one touchdown out of the slot & one on the outside against Philly. Even with that I do believe he is better on the outside.
    Also, It drives me crazy that Eli & Mario are still having miscues. Everything I’ve read they say it’s Mario’s fault. He’s been here long enough to have the game plan understood by now!!

    • DVision says:

      I’m glad you realized that! Everyone saying Cruz is just strictly an outside guy is wrong. Cruz’s 1st TD was out of the slot. It takes time.

  3. Joe P says:

    Jeremy, please tell me why you think Manningham deserves the chance to start this weekend?

    He’s coming off an injury, and he has been the epitome of unproductive dating all the way back to last season. He doesn’t make plays, and he has stone hands. Just because he is fast doesn’t mean he’s the answer.

    Victor’s performance in the last game should at least earn him the opportunity to start this week. They could always go with Manningham by the 3rd offensive series if Cruz comes up with nothing. Don’t give up on the hot hand.

    • Jared says:

      I agree. I like Mario but he was drafted in the 3rd round for a reason and everything I have read points to the reason being his football intelligence. Cruz is clearly a better worker and a much better student of the game. The Eagles game should have proved that to everyone.

      Start Cruz and then go to 3 and 4 wide outs if needed.

    • David says:

      Manningham was not unproductive last season. In fact he was highly productive with just under 1000 yards and 9 TDs in 13 games.

  4. Jeff says:

    Anyone that calls themselves a Giants fan, but continues to call #88 “Hicks” should be banned and sent to Philly.

  5. Dave says:

    Since when are Manningham and Cruz “big” as you referenced in the article. As well, Manningham is simply too dumb of a player to ever really be an impact player.

  6. Michael S says:

    Whoever says manningham isn’t a playmaker has serious problems -.-.. If it wasn’t for smoking pot in college, he’d have been a 1st round pick. U guys r all over Cruz he had 1 good game. Last year, when manningham was forced to be #1 wr cuz of injuries, he showed up and plated amazing. Cmon man.

    • Joe P says:

      I think you’re the crazy one.

      Name one game this guy showed up that was equivalent to what Cruz did last week?

      • DVision says:

        No you’ve gotta be nuts! Manningham had 60 receptions and only needed 60 yards to reach 1000 last season! He’s proven himself! I like Cruz, but he’s only had 1 100 yard game in which he only had 3 receptions! All of you are jumping the gun acting like he should immediately jump to #2!

      • David says:

        8 catches 113 2 TDs- week 14 vs Eagles
        4 catches 132 1 TD- Week 15 vs GB
        2 catches 101 1 TD- Week 16 vs Washington

        Anyone who suggests that Cruz is better that Manningham is delusional. Can Cruz improve? Of course. But Manningham has had two very productive seasons for the Giants and Cruz has had one productive game. Get your head out of the ground fellas.

  7. Dave says:

    Agreed he has made some plays, but how many big plays has he also missed because he have a feel for out-of-bounds, he can never cleanly catch or ball or he’s never on the same page as Eli?

    Bottom line- no consistency, flashes of brilliance followed by ineptness

  8. Michael S says:

    Lol I’m from Montreal and I know more than u bout the giants… He drops balls sometimes. Everybody does! He had his field awareness issues 2 seasons ago and he worked on that. He played as the #1 WR last season when nicks n smith were injured n he did an amazing job at it. I never said Cruz was bad. I like him but u guys saying he’s better than manningham is complete fuckery. Good argument though cuz it’s a + either way we look at it arguing who’s better.

  9. Michael S says:

    + manningham has had plenty of 100+ rec yards
    games in his short career

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