Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 12-11-17

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.


By Dave Klein

Giants' 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).

It might 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.

"But I'm 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.

"Frank [Cignetti, 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 offensive coaches."

The solution 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.

Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
- Team Giants

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