EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Victor Cruz is hoping for better luck this time around when the NFL announces its Pro Bowl rosters Wednesday night. Cruz was named a second alternate last season, but could be a starter this year because of his great numbers and fan support.
"I'll be watching it," Cruz said. "I'm a little eager."
Cruz has followed up his breakout campaign in 2011 with a second year of more than 1,000 receiving yards. He's caught a team-high 82 balls for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns. That's the same amount of catches and touchdowns he had last year, although he's well below in terms of yardage.
Cruz also received the most fan votes of any NFC receiver, garnering 515,811. The fan vote counts for one-third of the process, along with the coaches' and players' vote. The game, pitting the AFC's best against the NFC's best, will be played Jan. 27 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
"It would be an extreme honor," Cruz said. "Growing up you watch the Pro Bowlers and see the guys that make the team and think those guys are the best of the best. I would definitely be honored if I made the list."
Last year, Cruz was one of the more controversial snubs, as he didn't earn a selection despite having one of the best seasons of any receiver in the league. Detroit's Calvin Johnson, Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, Carolina's Steve Smith and Green Bay's Greg Jennings bested him for a spot in the NFC.
This season, Cruz got off to a blistering start, catching 52 balls for 730 yards and seven touchdowns in the first eight games. The second half, however, hasn't been as productive. Cruz has just 30 catches for 310 yards and two touchdowns in the stretch. In four of the team's past seven games, Cruz has been held to three catches and less than 40 yards.
"Defensively they are playing different coverages," Cruz said. "Definitely a little frustrating but just have to keep plugging away and find different ways to beat them and find different ways to get the ball down the field. It's just a matter of picking our opportunities and picking our poison and taking it from there."
Joining Cruz in a bid for the Pro Bowl is kicker Lawrence Tynes, who leads the NFL in field goals, making 33 of 39 on the season. But Tynes isn't confident he will make it considering his recent struggles. He has missed three field goals in the past four games.
“Yeah, I really thought I had a shot a month ago. We haven’t done a whole lot since then and I haven’t done particularly well," Tynes said. "I haven’t had a lot of opportunities. I probably had two bad kicks I would like to have back all year and I am pretty happy with that, so that’s about it.”