SANTA CLARA – Victor Cruz spoke to Bay Area reporters Wednesday morning on a conference call. Here’s what he said about his rivalry with Carlos Rogers.
Q: Do you have a rivalry with Carlos Rogers?
CRUZ: I guess so. That’s what the media likes to call it, but I think it’s just friendly competition.
Q: Do you have a friendly competition with a lot of cornerbacks?
CRUZ: I think it’s just more so the things that have gone on in the times that we’ve played each other have been pretty eventful so I think that’s more so what brings it out. Carlos is probably the only guy that I have friendly competitive games against.
Q: Was Rogers’ mocking of your salsa dance an affront?
CRUZ: A little bit. Initially, it felt like a slap in the face in the first game that we played them. It wasn’t too big of a deal for me. I felt disrespected — I talked about it in my book a little bit and then I brushed it off and kept going and made sure I did my best for the rest of the season and we got a chance to play them again and I did pretty well the second time we saw each other.
Q: What was out there in the first half of the NFC Championship game?
CRUZ: There was just a lot of opportunities. They were playing a lot of leaving Carlos on me one on one underneath and I was doing a good job of manipulating him and just getting myself open and Eli was finding me time and time again.
Q: What about the second half?
CRUZ: I think they did a good job of playing more zone coverage and doing things to kind of sit back and keep us in front of them and play the ball while we were in front of them and I think we chose to run it a little bit more. Eli started to get other people involved and other stuff like that. They did a good job at halftime making some adjustments and switching things up.
Q: You said in the first half of the Championship game the 49ers were covering you one-on-one. How rare was that last year that a team would put just one cornerback on you?
CRUZ: It was a little rare. The early part of last season I was getting a lot of one-on-one coverage, and then once I started to do well it kind of switched up. In the Championship game I knew they had a lot of confidence in Carlos – he was a Pro Bowler that year and he’s a good player. I think that’s the reason they did that. I kind of expect the same thing this week, and hopefully we can be able to dominate.
Q: What are you expecting Sunday?
CRUZ: From what we’re seeing on film, some man coverage out there, some zone as well. Hopefully the same thing I got last year, a lot of Carlos Rogers on me and the usual things and hopefully I can do some of the same things I did last year.
Q: Was there talking on the field in second game between you and Rogers?
CRUZ: No, not really. It was more so us just playing football out there and wasn’t a lot of talking going on back and forth.
Q: If Carlos does the salsa again are you going to be OK with that?
CRUZ: I obviously won’t be OK with that but it is what it is. He’s going to choose to do what he wants to do. It is what it is. I’m not going to try to retaliate or do something crazy. That’s not me. It obviously won’t sit well with me as I’ve stated before in the past.
Q: Why is the salsa dance so important to you?
CRUZ: It’s just something that I do for my grandmother, and it’s something that’s sacred for me, something that due to her passing and even before she passed away it was something that was dear to me. Why I do it is for her because she told me she loved it so much and she taught me how to do it and all of that put together. Knowing that, it’s just a little slap in the face but everybody’s different.