Hakeem Nicks to Roddy White: Super Bowl rings don’t lie

Victor-Cruz-Hakeem-Nicks-Super-BowlSunday’s game between the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons will feature some of the best receivers in the NFL. Back in September, Roddy White made the argument that he and Julio Jones are a better receiving duo than Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. White downplayed Cruz’s abilities by labeling him a slot receiver and claiming that the “big boys play on the outside.”

Unsurprisingly, Cruz disagreed with White’s assessment and reminded the Falcons star that he has a Super Bowl ring sitting at home. Earlier this week, Nicks echoed his teammate’s remarks.

“Numbers don’t lie, or Super Bowl rings don’t lie, neither,” Nicks said according to the Star-Ledger. “So when you get (into) that battle about who’s the best, I think you just let your play on the field talk for you. You ain’t got to be talking with your mouth.”

Nicks and Cruz have combined for 126 catches, 1,656 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Jones and White have been slightly more productive with 140 catches, 2,137 yards and 12 scores. From a talent standpoint, this one is pretty much too close to call. I would personally prefer White and Jones to Nicks and Cruz simply because Nicks has such an extensive history of injuries. He has yet to play a full 16-game season in his four-year career and Tom Coughlin admitted that he will likely never be 100% healthy this season.

Aside from that, the Giants win this argument. White can argue that he and Jones are the best pair of receivers in the history of the game if he wants, but none of that matters until you win a Super Bowl.

Giants players rip DeAngelo Hall for not giving Eli Manning credit on game-winner

When Eli Manning connected with Victor Cruz for a 77-yard touchdown that gave the New York Giants and comeback win over the Washington Redskins, DeAngelo Hall was not impressed. Rather than seeing it as another tremendous fourth-quarter comeback from a resilient Giants team, Hall saw it as a gift from his team.

“Ultimately he did because he made the play to beat us, but I don’t feel like he made that play,” Hall told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday. “I feel we gave him that play. We just had one guy set his feet and one guy not do this. I could have thrown that ball and he would have scored. It wasn’t something where he was a rocket scientist and he figured something out. We just played that as bad as possible.”

You don’t have to look at the play all that closely to know that it was terrible coverage, so in a way you can see what Hall is referring to. That being said, the Giants and Manning still had to call the right play based on the defense they saw and then execute it. That’s why some New York players feel that Hall’s comments were disrespectful.

“DeAngelo Hall is not that smart,” Justin tuck said according to Ralph Vacchiano of the NY Daily News.

USA TODAY’s Mike Garafolo said Victor Cruz called Hall’s comments “a little disrespectful” and Manning even stepped out of character a bit and fired back at the Redskins corner.

“I didn’t think it took a rocket scientist to figure it out either,” Manning said. “That was the coverage they messed up. As an offense, you have to take advantage of that.”

The “we beat ourselves” excuse is one of the lamest in sports, and one that the Giants have heard before on numerous occasions. Hall is also known for having a big mouth, so it doesn’t surprise me that he tried to take credit away from his division rivals. All that matters is the Giants got one in the win column and Washington took a loss. Whether Hall feels they earned it or not really isn’t relevant.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Talk
Photo credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Victor Cruz responds to Roddy White with ring taunt

Roddy White was busy running his mouth like usual, but Victor Cruz has put him in place.

White and Falcons teammate Julio Jones joined NFL Network’s Michael Irvin for a sit-down interview that will air on Sunday. When presented with the suggestion that Giants receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz might be a better wide receiver tandem, White put down Cruz.

“I’m not taking shots at people, but Victor Cruz is a lot more of a slot receiver,” he said. “The big boys play on the outside.”

Even though White said he wasn’t taking shots at people, he did. And Cruz responded.

“I couldn’t care less about what anybody else has to say,” Cruz told the Star-Ledger on Friday. “I got a ring back at home. I don’t care about what Roddy White has to say.”

Cruz and Nicks have combined for 37 catches, 516 yards, and two touchdowns this season. White and Jones have totaled 34 catches for 453 yards and four touchdowns. The two tandems are pretty even in terms of talent, and if I were a franchise I’d be satisfied with either one.

But the best part is how Roddy White’s big mouth got him into trouble again (his assertion was factually inaccurate anyhow), and how Cruz put him in check. The Giants wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl if it weren’t for Cruz’s excellent play last year. Where was White when the Giants beat the Falcons in the playoffs?

Victor Cruz: I would admit I didn’t catch the ball if I was Golden Tate

When the officials were trying to sort out what had happened on the final play of the Packers-Seahawks game on Monday night, Golden Tate had no choice but to insist he had joint possession of the ball and had caught the game-winning touchdown. Tate’s job is to do anything he can to help his team win, so obviously you can’t fault him even if M.D. Jennings clearly intercepted the pass.

However, some people have criticized Tate for refusing to admit the replacement refs gave the game to Seattle now that the win is completely in the books. Victor Cruz is one of those people, as the Giants wide receiver says he would tell the truth after the fact.

“I would have been honest,” Cruz told ESPN’s ‘Mike and Mike’ according to The Star-Ledger. “Obviously, the film shows, the video shows that I obviously didn’t catch the football. I wouldn’t have owned up to catching it, if I didn’t catch it.”

Cruz clarified that he would never admit he didn’t have possession of the ball during the game, but apparently he took issue with Tate going on the radio after the game and insisting the refs made the right call — when in fact it was one of the worst calls in NFL history.

In reality, Cruz can’t say for sure what he would have said since it’s tough to imagine yourself in that unique of a situation. Tate doesn’t want to take anything away from his teammates for fighting until the end, so on some level it makes sense he’s insisting he caught the pass rather than essentially admitting Seattle didn’t deserve the win.

Helmet knock to Black Sports Online
Photo credit: Joe Nicholson-US PRESSWIRE

Victor Cruz feels he deserves more money, says he wouldn’t have danced if he lost

Giants receiver Victor Cruz joined PFT Live Thursday and made a few noteworthy remarks. Cruz earned only $450,000 last season while setting the franchise record for receiving yards in a season with 1,536. He feels he is due for a raise.

“I think I was paid relative to where I came in this year and, you know, I came in as a free agent so that’s the salary I was on, so I don’t feel like I was underpaid,” Cruz said. “I feel like after my performance this year I deserve to be paid more money at this point. But that’s something I’ll let my agents and those people take care of and I’ll just go out there and play the game.”

Cruz is set to make $490,000 next season. In the same spirit that teams ask players to take pay cuts, the Giants should give Cruz the raise he’s earned. Maybe signing him to a long-term deal is the way to go.

Cruz also weighed in on Rob Gronkowski, who made headlines when videos and pictures showed him dancing like a madman after the loss. Cruz, who’s become known for his salsa dancing touchdown celebration, says he probably would have left the gyrations at home.

“I don’t think so,” Cruz said when asked if he would have been dancing after losing the Super Bowl. “I think I would have been in my room, watching TV, soaking in the moment. It’s not every day you make it to a Super Bowl, man. . . . Some guys play 15, 16 years in this league and don’t make it the Super Bowl. Or even the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. I would have been home soaking in the moment, I probably wouldn’t have been partying too much after that.”

Who knows how Cruz would have responded has his team lost. He should just be happy he wasn’t in that position.

Rex Ryan May Have Helped Giants’ Decision to Keep Victor Cruz

Say what you will about Rex Ryan talking too much. Everyone knows Rex has the biggest mouth of any coach in the NFL, but that’s his style.  Some say it works and makes players want to win for him.  Others say it makes him look stupid and can lead to mayhem in the locker room.  One thing that has never been discussed, however, is if Ryan’s openness can affect personnel decisions across the league.  According to the Star-Ledger, Giants fans can think Ryan for contributing to the joy Victor Cruz has given them this season.

During the 2010 preseason, Cruz was on the Giants’ roster bubble.  Heading into the preseason opener, the plan was to keep him on the team as a practice player.  Cruz then lit the Jets up for three touchdowns.  That performance and the praise of Ryan may have saved him from being waived.

“I hope they cut him,” Ryan said after the game. “I know one team that would be ready to sign him, and that’d be us.”

While there were almost certainly other teams that would have placed a claim on Cruz, the Giants were given a guarantee from Ryan that Cruz wouldn’t clear waivers.  If Tom Coughlin thought he could contribute anything to the team in the future, he had to add him to the regular-season roster.  He did just that.  Obviously, it was the right choice.  See, Giants fans — that Rex Ryan guy isn’t so bad after all.

H/T Deadspin

Victor Cruz Teaches MSG’s Jill Martin to Salsa Dance (Video)

Victor Cruz has emerged as one of the biggest playmakers in the NFL. The undrafted receiver became the Giants’ franchise leader for receiving yards in a season despite hardly playing until Week 3. He’s posted seven 100-yard games, nine touchdowns, and countless big plays. He also has become well known for his trademark salsa dance after scoring TDs. The salsa dancing is a nod to Cruz’s Puerto Rican heritage and something other players have even tried to imitate.

A day after leading his team to an NFC East-clinching win over the Cowboys, Cruz attended the Knicks-Raptors game at Madison Square Garden and even took a few moments to show sideline reporter Jill Martin how to salsa. Take a look:

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