LIONS INSIDER

NOTEBOOK: No Cruz changes things; missed call in Ravens game and missing Pettigrew

Posted Dec 20, 2013

The New York Giants won't have their most explosive passing threat against the Detroit Lions on Sunday

The New York Giants will be without their most explosive weapon on offense Sunday.

Receiver Victor Cruz has been ruled out after undergoing knee surgery this week. That takes 73 catches, 998 yards and four touchdowns worth of production out of the Giants offense against Detroit.

Victor CruzWR Victor Cruz (Photo: AP Images)

"That will be the interesting part because he is the catalyst on that team," Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said. "They have some good receivers and Eli (Manning) knows how to get the ball to them and spread it out. Obviously it will hamper him some, how much I don’t know yet."

The Giants will simply have to rely more on Hakeem Nicks, Ruben Randle and third-year receiver Jerrel Jernigan to pick up the slack.

Jernigan will play the slot with Cruz out, and Lions slot cornerback Bill Bentley knows him all too well.

"I played against Jernigan my whole college career," Bentley said of him playing at Louisiana-Lafayette and Jernigan playing at Troy in the same Sun Belt Conference. "I’m looking forward to that matchup.

"It’s going to be interesting going up against Jernigan again. He’s a competitor. He won MVP of the Sun Belt his senior year. He’s definitely a guy that can make plays on you if you’re slacking on him."

Bentley said he was looking forward to going against Cruz, however, as a measuring stick to how much he’s gotten better over the last year.

"Me being me, and the competitor that I am, I really wanted to go against Victor Cruz," Bentley said. "That’s like a big test for me going up against one of the best slot (receivers) in the league. I wanted to test my skillset and see how  good I am against the best."

Not having to play Cruz takes a lot of stress off the Lions defense. While Bentley’s competitive spirit is admirable, coaches and fans probably feel better about the fact they won’t have to see Cruz or that salsa dance on Sunday.

MISSING A CALL

The Baltimore Ravens should have been penalized one play before Justin Tuckers’ 61-yard winning field goal in Monday's 18-16 victory over the Lions and Cunningham said today the refs missed it.

"Their left tackle was moving, it wasn’t hard to see," Cunningham said. "I saw it from about 40 miles away in the press box. They didn’t make the call so we have to live with it."

On third-and-10 from the Lions’ 45-yard line, the Ravens called a shotgun handoff to Ray Rice that gained two yards and gave Tucker the extra couple yards needed to attempt the field goal.

But this replay shows Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe moving and not reset for a full second, which is the rule, before the snap.

The Ravens should have been penalized five yards, setting up a third-and-15 and a whole different set of circumstances.

SECURITY BLANKET

Running back Reggie Bush has become a favorite target of quarterback Matthew Stafford. He's probably taken some catches away from tight end Brandon Pettigrew this season, but that hasn’t changed how Stafford views Pettigrew.

Earlier this season he called Pettigrew his "security blanket" in the middle of the field. Stafford won’t have the luxury of that security on Sunday, however, as Pettigrew has been ruled out with an ankle injury.

"He’s a guy that does it all for us," Stafford said of Pettigrew. "He’s a jack of all trades. A guy that catches the underneath ball, made a great play on a down the field ball on a play that dinged him up a little bit. Blocks great in the run game and the pass game.

"I don’t know that there is anybody going in to a game that has from a skill position point more on their plate as far as different things to do and different ways to help our team than he does. Week-in and week-out he’s played at a high level this year."