Manning knew Cruz had his contract to deal with but figured he would see Nicks. Instead, Manning has been passing to the likes of Rueben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan and Louis Murphy at organized team activities.
"I knew there was a chance with Victor; he didn't have a contract," Manning said of not having his top receivers at OTAs. "You got some work. But I was just really hoping it [the Duke workouts] would be a little starter course to the spring. Not a substitute for what we’re doing on the field right now. This is stuff where we’re getting to go against cornerbacks, you get to work your technique."
Manning says it shouldn't take Nicks and Cruz long to get back into the flow of things with him. But he would certainly like to have them with him now.
"They've played in big games," Manning said. "They've run these plays hundreds of times before and so they'll be able to get in the flow of things. But you'd still like them back here just to work on things that we didn't do as well last year. They know what they're doing. It's just a matter of improving how they’re doing it sometimes."
"I gotta worry about the guys that are here," Manning later added. "That's all I can do. Making sure I know what I'm doing, working on the things that I need to improve on."