New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz says the Washington Redskins are still a couple of pieces away from being legitimate playoff contenders. Some may not agree with that statement, but Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall apparently does.
And that has this writer a bit weary for the Redskins chances in tonight's Monday Night Football showdown.
“In this league, you’ve got to prove it [and] we haven’t proved it," Hall said, via Mike Jones of WashingtonPost.com.
Even though we’ve beaten them two out of the last three times, you still got to prove it.
I understand sportsmanship, but the Redskins should save it for after the game. Whatever happened to firing back on all cylinders? Cruz is coming into Washington's house and the leader of the Redskins secondary let him get away with that?
Since when did Hall grow soft? Do Cruz and he have a friendship we don't know about? Does DeAngelo's wife take salsa dance lessons with Victor's fiancee?
Cruz didn't mince his words. He literally and figuratively dismissed the 2012 Redskins as nothing more than pretenders.
“They’re still a few pieces away," Cruz said Wednesday, via the Star-Ledger. "Whether it be defensively or wherever, they are missing some pieces."
Okay, Victor. Whatever you say. But weren't you and your Giants 7-7 last year and hanging on for dear life, before the team went on its Super Bowl run? And have you forgotten the Redskins swept your title team before you slipped that ring on your finger?
As a Redskins columnist with Bleacher Report, I can offer my opinion, but my defense pales in comparison to a Redskins rebuttal. Unfortunately, Hall's response was like taking a butter knife to a gunfight.
"Even though we’ve matched up well against them, we haven’t matched up against other teams in this league, said Hall (per The Post). I can’t argue with him right now."
Really, DeAngelo? Is that all you've got for the enemy? And why would you say you haven't matched up with other teams? Your team just beat two division rivals back to back. In the season opener against the New Orleans Saints, you beat the Super Bowl XLIV champs in their own building.
I'll give Cruz some credit because he was a nobody that turned into a somebody overnight and helped lead the Giants to a miracle finish last year. But that shouldn't give the former undrafted free agent the right to judge an NFC East rival that traded away the farm for franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III.
The Giants lucked out with Cruz, but Washington recently found its own diamond in the rough. Why can't rookie sixth-round draft choice Alfred Morris strap the Redskins to his back and carry them into the postseason?
This week was not the time to bow down to the defending Super Bowl champs. Cruz slipped on his tongue as quickly as he slipped past the Redskins six weeks ago, en route to a game-winning 77-yard touchdown.
Talk about twisting a knife after stabbing somebody in the back.
Perhaps Hall refrained because he vividly recalls seeing the back of Cruz' jersey. Maybe he decided to be passive because of the fines he's had to pay for flagrant fouls and wisecracking referees.
Or, perhaps DeAngelo thought twice after being criticized for downplaying Eli Manning's touchdown strike to Cruz that burned the Redskins secondary on October 21. Let actions speak louder than words, right?
Wrong. In my opinion, this was the appropriate time to get a backbone and blast Cruz. And if Hall couldn't do it. Somebody else should have.
Redskins blogger Rich Tandler didn't pull any punches in a column he published Saturday on CSNWashington.com.
Tandler criticized Cruz for his remarks and chided him for publishing (and cashing in on) a book about himself, after the Giants' Super Bowl win over New England.
"Victor Cruz is going from being [a humble] and nice, feel-good story to being someone who is getting to be, well, annoying," wrote Tandler. "Now he thinks he is some sort of NFL personnel evaluator."
That's right, Rich. And his timing could not have been worse.
Players that choose to talk trash in the week leading up to a game should watch their back. Cruz also should have known better when there was no reason to go off at the mouth.
Washington enters tonight's game on a two-game win streak. With a win, the 5-6 Redskins can pull within a game of first-place New York (7-4). But the burn from Cruz' game-winning score in Week 7 still stings.
The Redskins didn't need more incentive, but they got it on a silver platter and let Cruz off the hook.
Will tonight be any different? We shall certainly see.
But if Victor tries to "walk the walk" after "talking the talk," let's hope the Redskins don't hold his hand.
Joe Versage is an NFL Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He previously covered the Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens as a television beat reporter. Follow him on Twitter at: @JoeVersage Takip et: @JoeVersage