Victor Cruz had a bad night in the Week 1 opener against the Cowboys. He had 3 really bad drops, all routine catches that were reasonably easy to make, and was called for a pair of penalties: one was a false start, the other was a questionable, ticky-tack block in the back.
What you may not have noticed, however, was a complete “Ole” of a block on a perfect play call by Kevin Gilbride on a screen pass late in the game. On 2nd and 10 with 3:51 left in the game and the Giants down 14, the Cowboys brought a heavy blitz (they brought 6, all circled) to the Giants’ left side of the line:
The Giants OL lets the blitzers in, and Eli Manning fires off a quick pass out to Domenik Hixon. The Giants get exactly what they want here, as the play is set up perfectly. Martellus Bennett (85) is heading out to block the CB, while Victor Cruz (circled) is in position to make a block on LB Sean Lee:
As Lee approaches (and this is difficult to show in still shots), Cruz side-steps Lee, and even turns his shoulder to allow Lee to get by him that much more easily. Not pictured in the stills is safety Gerald Sensabaugh who is approaching from his safety spot. Cruz may have been allowing Lee to go around him to his right side, thinking that Hixon would already be by him by the time Lee would attempt to make a tackle, so that he can get a jump on heading upfield to block Sensabaugh. However, because the pass by Manning was high, that slowed up the play and Hixon may not have been as far upfield as Cruz anticipated.
Lee is left in great position to make the tackle while Cruz blocks… nobody. In my opinion, even if the pass by Manning was perfect, Lee still would have been able to easily make the play.
This is a terrible job by Cruz. Even if he had good intentions of getting up to the next level to block the safety, he has to at the very least put a shoulder into Lee, and not allow him to get by without any attempt whatsoever to slow him down. There’s no chance in hell that’s how the Giants teach the WR to block on this play. I’m not in Victor Cruz’s head, so I want to be careful here, but it appears to me that Cruz simply wanted no part of contact with Lee.