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  1. #1
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    CRUZ NAMED 2011'S MOST IMPROVED PLAYER





    CRUZ NAMED 2011'S MOST IMPROVED PLAYER



    You know you've made it big when "Dancing With the Stars" comes calling.




    Not long ago, Giants WR Victor Cruz was best-known for a three-TD preseason
    game in 2010, after which the Jets' Rex Ryan infamously said — caught by HBO's
    "Hard Knocks" microphones, "I don't know who the (heck) No. 3 is, but holy
    (crap)!"




    The uniform has gone up from camp-invite status to legitimate WR digits —
    he's No. 80 in your program now — and the fame has followed proportionally.




    "I understood that I was going to have my opportunity and when my name was
    called upon I had to succeed," Cruz told PFW.




    Armed with his patented salsa dance that's inspired by his grandmother, Cruz
    has become one of the great feel-good stories of the season, going from three
    reception-less games as an undrafted rookie in '10 to a Giants-record 1,536
    receiving yards and nine touchdowns — each spiked with the salsa flair at the
    end.




    Hence the "DWTS" call to have Cruz join the show. This is territory reserved
    for Kardashians and Osmonds in popular culture and for football legends named
    Rice, Emmitt and Hines.




    Cruz passed; maybe Tom Coughlin got in his ear. Whatever the story, Cruz
    hasn't let sudden fame — or anything else — slow him down. Some say he has
    surpassed Hakeem Nicks as Eli Manning's favorite target. It's a big reason why
    Cruz was voted the 2011 PFW/PFWA Most Improved Player.




    "I don't think anybody really saw it coming," Manning said. "A guy who had a
    good preseason game last year versus the Jets, and then after that, he wasn't
    around. He was on I.R."




    Cruz made a similar statistical jump from nowhere, although on a far smaller
    stage — between his sophomore and junior years at the University of
    Massachusetts.




    UMass QB Liam Coen, Cruz's roommate at the time, had seen the talent. All the
    Minutemen had, but Cruz had been held back by the death of his father as a
    freshman and academic problems the following year.




    Cruz caught only one pass as a sophomore before busting out with a 1,064-yard
    season, highlighted by a 262-yard, two-TD game against James Madison.




    "What's amazing is that he took a slant for 69 yards in that game," Coen told
    PFW, "and was caught from behind. Otherwise, he would have had a third TD.




    "I watch him now in the NFL — like that (74-yard) TD against the Cowboys,
    where he ran right by Terence Newman. I said to myself, 'Man, he has gotten
    faster in the NFL! Who does that?' "




    The Giants weren't sure Cruz would. They signed Brandon Stokley to play the
    slot, but Cruz fended him off. His breakout happened in Week Three, when he
    caught two TDs (with 110 yards) vs. the Eagles, when the dance was born. Two
    weeks later, he went off again — eight catches, 161 yards and a 68-yard TD — but
    a crucial drop and a fumble in the fourth quarter allowed the Seahawks to upset
    the Giants.




    After some inconsistencies, Cruz hasn't looked back. He averaged 113.8 yards
    in the final 10 games after the bye, many of those yards coming after making the
    first defender miss. He was able to flash his now-famous dance six more times as
    the Giants won the NFC East.




    Only four NFL teams contacted Cruz after he went undrafted. Now he has the
    eyes of the nation watching every hip shake he throws out there on the
    field.




    ALL-TIME WINNERS




    Most Improved Player of the Year




    2011 WR Victor Cruz / N.Y.G.
    2010 RB Arian Foster / Hou.
    2009 WR
    Miles Austin / Dall.
    2008 RB Deangelo Williams / Car.
    2007 QB Derek
    Anderson / Clev.
    2006 RB Frank Gore / S.F.
    2005 DE Osi Umenyiora /
    N.Y.G.
    2004 QB Drew Brees / S.D.
    2003 QB Jon Kitna / Cin.
    2002 QB
    Chad Pennington / N.Y.J.
    2001 QB Kordell Stewart / Pitt.
    2000 QB Jeff
    Garcia / S.F.

    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


  2. #2
    All-Pro jomo's Avatar
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    Re: CRUZ NAMED 2011'S MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

    It is not the right award. Most improved doesn't fit the situation. Improved over what? Rookieof the year would be a better fit for the young man.
    No one remembers who came in second.

  3. #3
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: CRUZ NAMED 2011'S MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

    Some well deserved recognition for Victor Cruz.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


  4. #4
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    Re: CRUZ NAMED 2011'S MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

    NICE>.. he definitely earned that.

  5. #5
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    Re: CRUZ NAMED 2011'S MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

    most improved from IR to superstar???LOL

  6. #6
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: CRUZ NAMED 2011'S MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

    [quote user="jomo"]It is not the right award. Most improved doesn't fit the situation. Improved over what? Rookieof the year would be a better fit for the young man.[/quote]

    Still nice recognition after being panned for the Pro Bowl. I'll never get that one.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


  7. #7
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    Re: CRUZ NAMED 2011'S MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

    [quote user="jomo"]It is not the right award. Most improved doesn't fit the situation. Improved over what? Rookieof the year would be a better fit for the young man.[/quote]

    mayb comeback player of the year?he did cameback from IR

  8. #8
    All-Pro jomo's Avatar
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    Re: CRUZ NAMED 2011'S MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

    [quote user="FlipNYG77"][quote user="jomo"]It is not the right award. Most improved doesn't fit the situation. Improved over what? Rookieof the year would be a better fit for the young man.[/quote]

    mayb comeback player of the year?he did cameback from IR
    [/quote]I think comeback player had to be good once. Cruz had no resume. How about an appearance in the Pro Bowl (after the Super Bowl)? That would be an appropriate recognition.
    No one remembers who came in second.

  9. #9
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    Re: CRUZ NAMED 2011'S MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

    He is certainly a young man with much talent on the field. I am so happy we have him. He seems to not be a disruption in the locker room or huddle, and gives his all on the field for impact. I say YES to Cruz. Glad he did get some recognition.

  10. #10

    Re: CRUZ NAMED 2011'S MOST IMPROVED PLAYER

    Glad his effort has been officially recognized in some capacity - he deserved to be singled out after having such a big part in our making it to the NFCCG - and hopefully beyond.

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