SANTA CLARA – Here’s what Victor Cruz said about the 49ers-Giants matchup to Bay Area reporters Wednesday morning on a conference call.
Q: The Niners have shut down some good QBs and limited opposing passing games. How have they done that?
CRUZ: I think it’s their aggressive play. I think their safeties do a good job of being heavily involved in the run. Dashon Goldson, he covers a lot of ground back there in that post safety position. A mix between their linebackers being exceptional and playing the run and pass and having that extra defender in the box in Donte Whiter. It definitely helps them in stopping the run and being able to defend behind that as well.”
Q: How have you guys compensated for the lack of Mario Manningham on the team?
CRUZ: Other guys have stepped up. Domenik Hixon has stepped up huge for us. Ramses Barden has done a good job for us. We just want to continue that. We understand that we’ve got playmakers on this team and we’ve got to get them the football in order for them to do some damage.
Q: Do you feel like you’ve stepped up too and taken your game to a higher level?
CRUZ: I think I had to kind of stand out and be a leader of this team a little bit with Hakeem (Nicks) down and things like that. I just want to stick to my game, play my game and whenever I get the football I understand what my abilities are, what my attributes are, and I go out there and make plays and score touchdowns.
Q: Are you getting even more attention from defenses than you were getting last season?
CRUZ: Most definitely. There are definitely certain downs and distances – third down or second down situations where the safety is over the top of the nickel player in front of me. They’re funneling me to different players and things like that. I’m seeing a lot of double teams and things of that nature, but I’m doing a good job and Eli is also doing a good job of just reading the coverages, picking and choosing where I can be used in a valuable spot, and if not, he just gets the ball to the receiver that’s getting himself open.
Q: After Sunday’s game Alex Smith said it’s some unfinished business … how do you view it?
CRUZ: I view it as a big game for us, a conference game and a game where our team will really be tested. We have to be able to prepare ourselves for a physical game. The Niners definitely probably marked this game off on their calendar as a little bit of revenge and payback. We just have to be able to match that and understand what type of energy they’re going to come out there with and physical they’re going be and we’re going to have to be able to match that.