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Giants Q&A: Eli Apple fumes over early benching

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

Why didn’t Eli Apple play the first three series of the game?

“I was benched,” the second-year cornerback and last year’s first-round pick said. Apple was replaced in the starting lineup by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and in sub packages by Ross Cockrell. “I wasn’t happy,” Apple said of getting the news of his demotion during the week. Asked if he tried to plead his case to the coaches, he said: “It wasn’t that type of situation.” Apple did eventually get on the field. “After like 10 series,” he said even though it actually was just three. “I don’t know, it felt like 10.” Ben McAdoo said only that Apple was part of “a lot of guys who were rolling in and out of there.” Apple said he handled the situation “the best way I could. Just go out there when my number was called and try to make a play.”

Why did D.J. Fluker play?

He came in to replace John Jerry at right guard after the third series. Jerry allowed a sack of Eli Manning but McAdoo said the switch was made because Jerry was “hobbled a little bit.” He was on the injury report with a hamstring late this week. Fluker had said he was looking forward to playing against his former team, the Chargers, but that sentiment went out the window when he actually got on the field. “I had to put that aside,” he said. “It was like: I’m here to do my job so I’ll talk to you after this game is over.”

Before he was carted off the field with his broken ankle, it looked as if Odell Beckham Jr. was upset about something else. What was it?

The CBS broadcast caught an image of Beckham with a towel over his face — he appeared to be upset — and punter and close friend Brad Wing was talking into his ear. Beckham came into the game with a finger injury he suffered last week, and that may have been what was bugging him. “He’s got a couple of nicks he’s dealing with,” Wing said. “He and I, we’ve made a promise to each other to be the best we can on the sidelines and we’re going to help each other with that. Regardless of what’s going on in the game. We made that promise to each other and we’re going to keep it with each other.”

Besides the wide receivers, what other injuries were there?

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the game late with a leg injury. S Landon Collins was in and out with a leg injury too, his is more of a bruise that acted up whenever he was hit in the same area. LB Jonathan Casillas also left for a time with a burner in his neck. And RB Orleans Darkwa, who scored on a 23-yard run in the first quarter, injured his calf on the play. “He didn’t get much after that,” McAdoo said.

The Giants were also without DE Olivier Vernon, who was inactive with an ankle injury for the first time in his career. Even though he did not play he was on the sideline for the national anthem and took a knee in protest during the song as he had done for the previous two weeks. It was the first time a Giants player performed such an act of protest in a home game.

What happened on the Giants’ two-point conversion attempt?

They were flagged for a delay of game when they were late getting in place after Beckham’s fourth-quarter touchdown made it 22-17. “It’s a new rule in the league, they’re trying to speed up the game,” McAdoo said. “The 25-second clock started quickly and I tried to run down and call a timeout, but with four seconds left [on the play clock] they didn’t pull the trigger on the timeout. They must not have seen me there.” The Giants still went for the two and Manning’s pass to Beckham was incomplete from the 7. “We still felt we had a good call and an opportunity to convert,” McAdoo said.

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