Dave Klein was the Giants' beat
writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books
and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls.
Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.
AND APPLE MAJOR QUESTIONS FOR SPAGNUOLO
DAY AFTER THE COWBOYS TURNED THE GIANTS
By Dave Klein
head coach Steve Spagnuolo conducted his first post-game interview Monday, after
the disheartening 30-10 loss to Dallas on Sunday, and two players seemed to monopolize
the conversation - quarterback Davis Webb and cornerback Eli Apple.
The assembled scribes wanted to know why each player had been listed as inactive
against the Cowboys, and as it turned out there were different explanations.
Webb is the rookie drafted in the third round, who hasn't been activated yet this
season and it looks from here that nothing is scheduled to change for him Sunday
against the Philadelphia Eagles - who are, by the way, going to have figure out
a way to play without star quarterback Carson Wentz. He suffered a torn anterior
cartilage ligament in a knee Sunday and will be unavailable for the rest of the
season (regular and post).
be important to see exactly what he can do, since the Giants' most recent loss
dropped them to 2-11 and in sole possession of the second overall selection in
the draft, and if one of the two superstar quarterbacks from the college ranks,
Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen, have captured the Giants' fantasy, they need to know
that Webb won't be a viable candidate.
Apple was the first round selection in 2016 (10th overall), an All-America corner
from Ohio State, but this season he has fallen on hard times - various injuries,
a few disciplinary situations and being a "healthy scratch" from the
starting lineup the past few games.
"I talked with Eli before the game, when we deactivated him," Spagnuolo
said. "He sat in my office and I said, ‘look, we need to get you going. Everybody
wants you here helping us out, but this wasn't the week to do it.'
"He just didn't get enough reps during the week [although] he did get some
Friday. I just didn't think it was enough to have him ready to do the things we
were going to do in the defensive game plan and he understood that."
What, Spagnuolo was asked, does Apple have to do because this isn't the first
time he's had disciplinary action this season. "I guess that's true,"
the interim coach said. "Some of it has been injuries. He's had a back problem,
a little bit of a groin situation early in the week and then felt a little bit
better. I hope you all can understand that a lot is going on in this small brain
of mine from last week [the McAdoo firing and Spagnuolo's promotion] so I can't
piece it all together.
hopeful and optimistic that we can get him going. I'm disappointed in the tweeting
thing [reportedly from the bench on Sunday during the game] but hopefully we can
get over these hurdles. I told him I was disappointed in the tweeting, he apologized
and I'm satisfied," the coach added.
As to Webb, many feel it's important for him to play a generous amount of time
in order to determine what, if any, future he has with the Giants. It is painfully
clear that the current backup, Geno Smith, is not a long-term candidate, and if
Webb proves that as well, there may be no choice for the Giants but to spend the
top pick on one of the two first-tier quarterbacks.
"I'll talk with the coaches about him tomorrow," Spagnuolo said. "Tuesday
is our big game-planning day with the way the schedule is, but I will tell you
this about Davis Webb and I have had my eyes on it all during the season. He is
one of the most hard-working young men in this building. He's a gym rat, he's
here all the time.
quarterbacks coach] has done a great job with him in preparation of becoming an
NFL quarterback. Frank has him thinking like h could be the next quarterback in
the game. He gets him out there before games and they go through an extensive
40-minute throwing progression workout. There is a lot going on in his preparation.
I don't know if he's ready to move up this week [but] I'll have to talk with the
would be to continue with Eli Manning as the starter (and Spagnuolo assured that
is the plan), with Webb as the backup. "We'll see," he said. "I'm
not sure what would be gained other than if something happened to the starter
and he goes in. Is it that much more of an advantage having him stand on the sideline
as the second or having him standing on the sideline as a deactivated player?
And, finally, the heart of the
matter. Does Spagnuolo have enough information on Webb to know that he can't play?
"No, I can't say that right now," he said. "Again, you're asking
questions I have not had discussions with the offensive coaches about."
EXTRA POINTS - Safety Landon Collins has started all 46 games since he joined
the team as the second round pick in 2015, but that streak may be in jeopardy.
... He suffered a sprained ankle Sunday and now his status is questionable. ...
"I need more information on that," said Spagnuolo. "We'll just
have to wait and see what happens during this week."
Philadelphia, even without Wentz, is an eight-point favorite for next Sunday's
game. ... The backup-now-starter is Nick Foles, obtained from Kansas City last
summer as a veteran free agent.
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