EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Victor Cruz believes there was a bit of a 'disconnect' between Eli Manning and his receivers in this season where the New York Giants' offense failed to live up to the preseason hype.
Talking to the media for the first time since having surgery on his left knee Dec. 19, Cruz said that the lengthy negotiations that got him a new contract in July, and fellow receiver Hakeem Nicks' decision to work out on his own went a long way in creating the gap between Manning and the receivers.
"I think that's the one thing we lacked, was kind of that continuity from a receiver standpoint with our quarterback," Cruz said Friday. "And I want to build that earlier this year, whether he have to set some time apart with the receivers and Eli whenever he's ready and schedule it right so we can build not only on the field but off the field."
Cruz, who stood without the aid of crutches, said his knee should be healthy in roughly two months. He intends to take the recovery slowly so he does not come back and play tentatively. The four-year veteran expects to take part in the Giants' organized team activities, which started in April this past season.
The important aspect this offseason will be working out more with Manning, who has thrown a career-high 26 interceptions.
"We want to get to know each other more and stuff like that," said Cruz, who finished the season with 73 catches for 998 yards and four touchdowns. "I feel like there was a little bit of a disconnect there that we want to get back for this football team."
Cruz, who was hurt against Seattle on Dec. 15, hopes that Nicks and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride will both return next season.
Nicks, the Giants' first-round draft pick in 2009, has had a disappointing fifth season. Heading into the season finale against Washington on Sunday, he has failed to catch a touchdown. He will be a free agent after this season.
"Obviously I understand the business side of it, because I just went through that myself," said Cruz, who signed a five-year, $43 million contract extension this summer, causing him to miss this past seasons OTAs. "I understand what he is going through."