EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' Victor Cruz knew his path into the starting lineup was as a slot receiver. And being the intelligent guy that he is, he went right to the film of the man whose performance over the past five seasons has been the example every other slot receiver in the NFL wants to emulate. Ironically, that man is the New England Patriots' Wes Welker, who will play for Cruz's opponent next Sunday in Super Bowl XLVI.
"There's stuff that he does very well," Cruz said of Welker, who's averaged 110.8 catches for 1,221 yards per season since his arrival in New England. "Obviously, he catches the ball very well. He's really quick in and out of his routes, and that's something I've tried to imitate -- just be as quick as possible while I'm out there. Moving laterally is something I do well, and he's been exceptional at that for years. So I've watched film on him, and I know how good he is, and I try to steal a few things from his repertoire."
Welker led the NFL this season with 122 catches, and his 1,569 receiving yards were second in the league to Detroit's Calvin Johnson. Cruz was third in the league with 1,536 receiving yards on 82 catches in 2011.