How he beats you: Cruz boasts impressive speed and runs precise routes. The combination is a big reason why he leads the Giants with 63 catches for 779 yards and eight touchdowns.
The Redskins can attest to the difficulty of containing Cruz. They held him in check for much of the first game this season, limiting him to 54 yards on six catches until, with 90 seconds remaining,Cruz and Eli Manning connected for a 77-yard game-winning touchdown.
“He’s quick and fast,” Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson says. “That’s what makes him difficult, because he can shake you at the line and he can vertically extend you down the field. That’s a deadly combination to be quick and fast. He can make plays on the ball, and he has a great quarterback.”
How to stop him: The Redskins’ defensive backs must be sound in their coverage assignments.
“Play your responsibility,” Wilson said. “Understand what you can stop and what you’re supposed to stop, and live with what you can and what you’re not supposed to.”
On the 77-yard touchdown catch, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett instructed his backs to double-team Cruz, but safety Madieu Williams was caught flat-footed. Cruz got a step on Wilson and blew past Williams to make the catch. Wilson said that even if he and his fellow backs do blanket Cruz in their coverage, the receiver still isn’t out of a play because of Eli Manning’s skills.
“[Eli’s] amazing, even more so than those [receivers]. He can make some plays and put the ball in some amazing places.”