On Tuesday McDonald’s held an exclusive event launching its new Mighty Wings to its menu. With the McDonald’s food chain being a major partner with the NFL, they were able to bring in all pro wide receiver Victor Cruz to help promote the launch and spend time speaking to fans and media. During my interview with Cruz, he enlightened me on some of the things he likes to do in his free time, his recovery from a heel injury, and his feelings about the Giants moving forward in the season.
Dowell: On your off days like today, what do you like to spend your time doing?
Cruz: Well, if I don’t have any obligations such as this one, I’m usually home with my daughter. If I’m not at home I’m taking her to the zoo or wherever she wants to go, and if I’m not doing that I’m shopping.
Dowell: Well we all know you are coming off of a heel injury to start the season but it doesn’t look like it. You have 200+ receiving yards and three touchdowns through two games. What type of training and rehab did you do to get back into form?
Cruz: A lot of it was just me staying off of it. They had me in the boot, and I had to keep it elevated to keep the pressure off of it. They also had me in an altered G machine where you run on a treadmill but it holds up a lot of your pressure so you’re only using a certain percentage of your body weight at a time. Once I was able to run full speed I was out there practicing and once week one came out I was ready to go.
Dowell: And are you 100% right now?
Dowell: Glad to hear. I know this season hasn’t started out the way you guys had hoped, but going forward what do you think should be the focal point for the Giants for the rest of the season?
Cruz: I think just playing with intensity and taking care of the football have to be the biggest things. Having ten turnovers in the first two games is not something that is going to win us any football games. So we just want to keep control of the ball, control the pace, and that goes all the way from our quarterback down to our special teams. If we do that we should be good.
Dowell: With the turnovers, is that something you physically work on in practice or is it more of a mental thing that needs more focus?
Cruz: It’s more of a mental thing. It’s just us being able to make the right decisions. As far as fumbling we can emphasize that in practice, making sure we hold the ball high and tight, having the defense slap at the ball no matter where we are on the field. Other things like interceptions is just more of a mental, decision making process.
Dowell: The running game has been a little slow, and you brought back Brandon Jacobs who scored this past week. What do you feel like the resigning of Jacobs will do for your team going forward?
Cruz: I just think he brings that intensity we need in the backfield. He has a voice and a presence in our locker room that brings that intensity and that fire that he plays with back to us. It trickles down to everyone else. We’re excited to have him back and I think he’s going to help this team.
Dowell: You all have a rough five games coming up with the Chiefs, Vikings, Bears, and Eagles twice. Do you feel like this stretch could make or break the Giants’ season?
Cruz: I think so. I think we need to get off to a good start, get a couple of wins under our belt, and really cement ourselves in this league as a top team. This middle stretch of the season is going to be tough for us so we just need to take it one game at a time and come out with some victories and get our season going in the right direction.
Dowell: So its game day, you are in the locker room getting ready. What’s in your headphones to get you hype for the game?
Cruz: Well obviously I’m a Jay Z fan so Magna Carta Holy Grail is in the headphones. Lil Wayne Dedication 5 is in the headphones. J. Cole is in the headphones. I got a ton of Drake in the headphones. 2 Chains is in the headphones. That’s about it.
Dowell: I know you do the salsa dance, and some people think may think you are over-celebrating. Are you a trash talker during the game or do you let your play and the salsa dance do the talking for you?
Cruz: Nah I don’t talk any trash. A lot of guys do provoke me this year, I’ve found that out which is pretty funny. But I don’t talk trash I just go out and play the game. I know some people do it to gain an edge but I just I just go out there and play my game.
Dowell: Well from players talking trash to fans, I know you know about fantasy football. How do you feel about fantasy football and how much love or hate do you get from fans in regards to fantasy?
Cruz: Haha, man I get it that all the time. Every day on twitter, every day out on the streets. It’s huge out here you know, its just the life we live right now. Fantasy football is big. I’m a fan of it. I don’t have enough time to play it myself, but after the game sometimes I go check and see how many points I put up so it’s cool.
Dowell: Lastly, I just want to congratulate you on the contract extension. Do you feel like that eased your mind and helped you go out and just play football without worrying about anything else?
Cruz: Absolutely. It was a burden before just trying to figure out “Am I worth this much? Am I going to get paid? Am I going to be on another team?” It’s finally good to stay here at home where I feel like I belong and just go out and play and not think about money or anything else. Now I’m really relaxed and I think you can see that in the first two weeks. I’m just out there playing my game.
Special thanks to McDonald’s for putting on an excellent event. The Mighty Wings were delicious; I had to go home with a box or two. Or three. Also special thanks to Victor Cruz for the interview and much success to him and the Giants as they move forward in the season.