Eli Apple said he was “thinking too much” and should have attacked the ball rather than worrying about outside containment when Robert Woods ran past him on a 52-yard touchdown on third-and-33 for the Rams on Sunday. But the second-year cornerback disputed the notion that he quit on the play.
“He was running really fast and nobody touched him,” Apple said on Wednesday. “I kind of hesitated a little bit because I felt Sammy [Watkins, another Rams receiver] on my shoulder and I was thinking he [Woods] might cut it out. I could have easily made a better play for sure.”
By not engaging with the ballcarrier, it seemed as if Apple was ducking contact. And not just to fans.
“This is unbelievable,” former NFL safety Rodney Harrison said on NBC’s “Football Night in America” during the highlight. “They’re playing a prevent [defense], and all they have to do is just tackle this guy. Look at Eli Apple. He wants no part of it. He flat-out quit.”
Apple said he was not bothered by that very public criticism on national television.
“Not really,” he said. “No.”
He added: “Rodney Harrison is one of my favorite safeties, too. I love Rodney Harrison.”
That feeling may not be mutual.
Jenkins returns to starting job
Janoris Jenkins will return to his starting job at cornerback on Sunday against the 49ers after a one-week suspension for violating team rules.
“He served his suspension, came back,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “We had a conversation and we welcome him back . . . His role remains the same.”
Jenkins was not available to the media on Wednesday, but he was at practice with the team for the first time since before the bye. He was suspended after missing practice on Oct. 30, when the team returned from the break, and not communicating his absence with the coaching staff or front office.
Three potential starting linebackers for the Giants did not practice on Wednesday. B.J. Goodson (ankle), Devon Kennard (quad) and Keenan Robinson (quad) were all sidelined . . . DE Olivier Vernon (ankle) and OL Justin Pugh (back) were limited in practice and could play on Sunday. Vernon has not appeared in a game since Oct. 1.