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Eli Apple begins with clean slate in the Giants' DB room

Giants cornerback Eli Apple reacts to a call

Giants cornerback Eli Apple reacts to a call against the Chargers at MetLife Stadium on Oct. 8, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Lou Anarumo knows he’ll have his hands full this season.

“The DB room is always filled with characters,” the new defensive backs coach for the Giants said on Wednesday.

The one he’s inheriting, however, was also filled with problems a year ago. Three of the cornerbacks — including two who are returning this season — were suspended at various points during the 2017 campaign and by the end of the season safety Landon Collins was on the radio referring to cornerback Eli Apple as “a cancer.” That seems more like chaos than characters.

Anarumo, however, is not worried.

“I have zero concerns,” he said of having control over his room which, unlike past years, will include both cornerbacks and safeties. “I wasn’t here [last year] so I just look at everything going forward and I think every coach has probably said it so far that we’re starting with a clean slate. It’s a 0-0 record and let’s go. We’ll start from there so that’s all we can do, that’s all I can control and I think the guys will appreciate that as well. Good, bad or indifferent. Even if they had a great year last year, it doesn’t matter. Everybody starts 0-0 this time. So Super Bowl champs or 3-13, everybody is the same right now and you got to put that in the past and move forward.”

That seems to be the Giants’ current approach with Apple, the first-round pick just two years ago who regressed both on and off the field in 2017.

“At the end of the day, the guy is still a very, very young guy and a very young player,” Anarumo said. “I liked him coming out of Ohio State. When he walks in the room and you don’t know anything, you see a big, tall, long, athletic guy and in this league, there’s just not a ton of those guys. So with a guy that’s that young and going to be in a position to make plays, I can’t wait to start working with him.”

Assistant defensive backs coach DeShea Townsend was equally enamored of the possibility of working with Apple.

“There’s a reason he went in the first round,” Townsend said. “He’s a big guy, he can run, he’ll tackle and that’s the thing it takes to be a good corner . . . He has God-given ability that most people don’t have. He’s 6-1, runs a 4.4 and he’ll hit you. So, that’s something good to work with.”

The position coaches, like most others in the organization, have spoken about Apple having a fresh start with them. That philosophy goes all the way up to general manager Dave Gettleman.

“Day one is Monday,” defensive coordinator James Bettcher said of the start of the offseason program. “Day one is Monday and every guy that walks in that room, day one is Monday. So, whatever happened before, whether it was here or whether it was with a different team, guys that we draft, whether it was in college, whatever it was that has happened with guys, day one is Monday. Day one is the first day those guys walk in the building and we’re going to build from there.”

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