The man that figures to be covering the Giants' best receiver Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, Bengals cornerback Leon Hall, has been talking about Victor Cruz ever since he came into the NFL out of the University of Massachusetts in 2010.
That's when Hall's teammate and Cruz's UMass teammate, safety Jeromy Miles, joined the Bengals.
"We've been talking about him whenever he makes a big play or something like that," Hall says. "Jeromy is high on him so we've talked about him and there."
He's been a big topic of discussion this week. Cruz, the 6-foot, 205-pounder, is tied for fifth in the NFL with 16 third-down catches. Two have gone for touchdowns and one was an 80-yarder.
"Get your hands on him. Be as physical as you can be with Victor," Miles advises. "Don't give him any free routes because when you let him give him a lot of room, that's when he excels."
Cruz does much of his damage in the slot, but Hall says it would be unfair to call him just a slot receiver. Hall figures to be the guy Cruz because he can jump in and out of the slot.
"He's a threat outside," Halls says. "He's quick and he knows how to get open. Plus, they do a great job with their scheme getting him open in the slot and they've got a quarterback that can get him in the ball even when he's covered."
Hall says Cruz is one of the more unique guys he'll face because of his ability to pop one out of the slot.
"There are a lot solid receivers that do a good job catching the ball and moving the chains, but he's got the speed after the catch to turn a first down into a touchdown," Hall says. "That's what makes him unique in the slot. The ability to evade a tackle. Whatever you have to do to get him on the ground, you have to do it."