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Eli Apple ready to step up after Janoris Jenkins injury

Marvin Jones Jr. of the Detroit Lions catches

Marvin Jones Jr. of the Detroit Lions catches a touchdown in front of Eli Apple of the New York Giants in the first quarter at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 18, 2017 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Mike Stobe

Eli Apple said playing without Janoris Jenkins doesn’t change his job description all that much. He still needs to defend passes and make tackles. What it does do, though, is change what others expect from him. For that he is ready.

“Most definitely,” Apple said when asked if he can take the next step and become the type of shutdown corner that Jenkins had been for the Giants before missing Monday’s game with an ankle injury. “It’s just about the little things, always trying to improve and get better, never taking a step backwards.”

The Giants may need another step forward from last year’s first-round pick. Jenkins has not practiced so far this week and may miss a second straight game. That could land Apple on the Eagles’ top receiving threat, Alshon Jeffery.

Despite giving up a touchdown against the Lions, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said he likes what Apple has done so far this season.

“Eli had five tackles, had a quarterback hit, and there were at least five or six times they weren’t able to throw the ball to his guy because he had him covered,” Spagnuolo said. “I think he’s doing a solid job over there… I’m hopeful we can get Janoris back and do what we normally do, but I think Eli is doing a good job.”

Keenan Cleared

LB Keenan Robinson has cleared the concussion protocol after suffering back-to-back injuries and missing the first two games of the season. He said he expects to play on Sunday, which should help the Giants’ defense in sub packages and coverages against running backs and tight ends in the passing game.

“He’s a guy who understands what we’re doing and has some games under his belt,” Spagnuolo said. They played the first two games with a middle linebacker making his first career start each time (B.J. Goodson in Week 1, Calvin Munson in Week 2) while staying on the field for every defensive snap. With Goodson (shin) unlikely to play, Robinson provides depth at the position.

“It’s good to have another option,” Spagnuolo said.

Giant Steps

TE Evan Engram remains in the concussion protocol and was limited in practice on Thursday. Jenkins, Goodson, T Bobby Hart (ankle) and LB J.T. Thomas (groin) did not practice … The Eagles practiced without four injured players in their secondary for the second straight day on Thursday: CB Ronald Darby (ankle), S Corey Graham (hamstring), S Rodney McLeod (hamstring) and S Jaylen Watkins (hamstring).

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