Redskins

Cruz just keeps on cruising as Giants' top threat

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Cruz just keeps on cruising as Giants' top threat

EAST RUTHERFFORD, N.J. (AP) Victor Cruz came out of nowhere to become the New York Giants' go-to receiver a year ago.

With opponents watching his every move this season, and Hakeem Nicks still working his way back from a broken foot in the offseason and a swollen knee, Cruz remains quarterback Eli Manning's No. 1 target.

It was never more evident than last Sunday when the two-time Super Bowl MVP found Cruz on a 77-yard scoring pass play with 1:13 to play to give the NFC East-leading Giants (5-2) a dramatic 27-23 win over quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins.

Cruz not only leads the Giants with 50 catches for 627 yards and seven touchdowns, his total receptions is third overall in the league heading into this weekend's game against the Cowboys (3-3) in Dallas.

It's a great follow-up to a season in which he set a franchise record with 1,536 yards receiving. Though Cruz certainly hasn't looked at this year as a proving ground to show last year wasn't a fluke.

``I just wanted to come in and continue to play my game,'' he said. ``I didn't want to come in and try to prove anybody wrong or prove all the doubters wrong. Because I think what I did last year proved a lot of people wrong in itself. So for my sake, (I) just (need to) continue to be consistent and continue to catch every ball that's thrown in my direction. That's the only thing I can do, is run my route, read the defenses, read the coverages and catch everything that's in my area.''

Facing the Cowboys this weekend is going to give Cruz a chance to make up for what might have been his worst game. He dropped a couple of passes in the 24-17 loss to Dallas in the season opener.

``Giants-Cowboys is always a big game,'' Cruz said. ``We want to come in and match their level of intensity. They're coming off a solid win against Carolina. We want to be able to match their intensity and come out firing.''

If the Giants win, they can open a 2 1/2-game lead over Dallas in the division, which might be tough to overcome. A second Cowboys' win over the champions, though, would muddy the waters in the NFC East.

``Teams are doing a good job of keeping the safety in my area and doing things coverage-wise to keep me away from making the big play,'' Cruz said. ``But I think I've done a good job this year of taking advantage of those opportunities when we get the chance to get a big play called.''

Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr knows what to expect from Cruz.

``I have been watching him on film.'' Carr said. ``Just to see the momentum he has picked up since the last time we played ... I am going to have my work cut out for me.''

Carr said Cruz has the ability to get off the line quickly. And once he catches the ball, he has the speed to break free.

``That is what they do best,'' Carr said. ``They have confidence in their ability to finish games. Cruz's number has been called many times. He came through.''

Cruz also is coming off a week in which he angered running back Ahmad Bradshaw by missing a block on a 15-yard run in the second half. Bradshaw yelled at Cruz and then belted him in the back of the helmet.

``He did. I'm not going to lie,'' Cruz said, adding he was not upset. ``I feel like when you're on the field the coaches aren't out there playing for you, we're out there playing for each other. When we're out on that field it's all about us.''

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NOTES: The only Giant ruled out for Sunday's game is linebacker Jacquian Williams. ... S Kenny Phillips (knee) and DT Rocky Bernard (quadriceps) have a chance to play for the first time in five games. ... Bradshaw, who only practiced once this week because of a lingering foot injury, is 50-50, while center David Baas (ankle) and Nicks, who had a good week of practice, are probable.

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PHOTOS: Alex Smith makes an appearance during the Redskins' third day of OTAs

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PHOTOS: Alex Smith makes an appearance during the Redskins' third day of OTAs

Considering how serious that November leg injury was and how difficult the subsequent surgeries were, any time you see Alex Smith out, about and smiling, it's encouraging.

On Thursday, the Redskins posted a couple of pictures of Smith helping out at the team's third day of OTAs. The QB was photographed hanging out with coaches and even tossing a football:

You can't tell in the pictures whether Smith is still wearing the external fixator on his right leg, but regardless of whether he is or not, it's still great to see him in Ashburn around the organization. 

It remains unclear what kind of role Smith will have with the 'Skins in 2019. However, if he's willing, he'd be an ideal mentor for Dwayne Haskins and overall a positive influence on the entire roster, seeing as many players don't hesitate to praise the leadership he displayed in 2018.

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Gilbert Arenas doesn't like bench mobs, gives very on-brand reason

Gilbert Arenas doesn't like bench mobs, gives very on-brand reason

Gilbert Arenas was an attention-grabbing, electric player on the court. That's equally true off it, where Agent Zero has made a name for himself saying outrageous things and playing the jester. 

Arenas was back at it with another controversial take on his No Chill podcast this week. This time, he took aim at bench mobs.

"[The] only thing that irritates the s--- out of me, is when someone scores and they're like shooting the arrows and they havin' this big ole hype party on the bench ... f--- that ... I want your position. I don't want you to do good."

Bench celebrations have to be some of the most fun, light-hearted and beloved parts of an NBA game. Just look at this. 

Sure, players are drawing attention to themselves by cheering on their teammates, but who begrudges guys for rooting for their own team's success?

Arenas, apparently.

It might sound odd that a guy like Gil couldn't relate to goofy antics. Take a closer look at his history, though, and it makes perfect sense. 

Arenas was one of the most ball-dominant guards in the NBA at a time when Kobe Bryant dominated. That's saying something.

Just compare him versus Bradley Beal, for example. 

Arenas averaged 19 or more shots per game in four of his eight seasons with the Wizards. Beal, by contrast, has only done that once.

Arenas also logged 39 minutes per game while playing for Washington. Even last season when Beal's playing time was a concern, he played 37 minutes a night. 

Of course Arenas can't relate to sitting back and watching his teammates take his minutes or his shots. He had no experience doing either of those things.

There's also the indisputable fact that Agent Zero loves to stir up controversy. If the general consensus is one thing, Arenas gets attention by saying the other. 

Look no further than a few weeks ago. When most NBA players and fans were excited about Vince Carter deciding to try to play another year, Arenas came out opposed to the idea on his podcast.

He said Carter should retire to make room for younger players to prove themselves in the league. 

At this rate, if Arenas uses next week's podcast space to argue that Zion Williamson should go back to Duke, no one should be surprised. 

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