Landon Collins had no doubts about his side of the public tiff with Giants teammate Eli Apple earlier this week, but the All-Pro safety is far less certain about playing this Sunday against Philadelphia.
Collins was listed as doubtful with an ankle injury, meaning he could sit out for the first time after starting the first 45 games of his NFL career. Fellow safety Nat Berhe (hamstring) already has been ruled out, making that position yet another area of concern for the decimated Giants as they play out the string of a catastrophic 2-11 season.
“He didn’t go today, but we got a little bit of work out of him (Thursday). He’s a tough guy, so you know him. He wants to play,” interim coach Steve Spagnuolo said of Collins after practice on Friday. “We’ll see what happens when we get to Sunday.”
Collins, who would be replaced by Andrew Adams in the starting lineup if he’s unable to go, had been embroiled earlier in the week in a back-and-forth with Apple after the latter contradicted Collins’ contention on Wednesday that he was among the Giants to speak with and help the second-year cornerback through some of his struggles this season on and off the field.
Eli Apple contradicts Giants teammate Landon Collins
“Look, we’re a family. There’s going to be disagreements in families,” Spagnuolo said. “Grown men. I am banking it will all get worked out.”
While neither player addressed the media on Friday, Spagnuolo wouldn’t commit to Apple being active against the Eagles after the former first-round pick got caught last week retweeting praise of a touchdown scored by opposing wide receiver Rod Smith during a blowout loss to Dallas.
Apple, who had been nursing hip and ankle injuries, hasn’t played since Nov. 12 against San Francisco.
“We’ll see where the roster goes right now,” Spagnuolo said. “I’ll figure it out by Sunday and I certainly wouldn’t want to say anything now in front of the opposition.”
Landon Collins says Giants have struggling Eli Apple’s back
The interim coach indicated he had no plans to get involved in the spat between his two defensive backs, but he added he believes Collins has emerged as more of a leader this season, his third in the league.
“I have, truly,” Spagnuolo said. “It might have been back in training camp, I saw signs of that and I went over and told him. I think it’s really good when a young guy grows that we give them feedback so they understand we recognize (it).
“Every time I’ve done that, I’ve found they make another leap. But Landon’s not a rah-rah vocal guy. More than anything, Landon leads with how hard he works, how much he loves the game of football. He truly does. He loves the game of football and wants to be around it, wants to do anything involved with it. I respect that. I think the other players recognize that and a lot of respect comes with that.”
Despite Collins’ desire to suit up, Spagnuolo had indicated earlier in the week that the Giants planned to “protect Landon from himself.”
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With Adams and starter Darian Thompson the only healthy safeties on the active roster, the Giants promoted Ryan Murphy from the practice squad to take injured offensive lineman Justin Pugh’s roster spot.
INS AND OUTS
Spagnuolo said DE Romeo Okwara, who has been sidelined since Week 6 with a knee injury, isn’t likely to play until at least next week against Arizona. The coaching staff still would like play starting defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon for fewer snaps against Philly. “Yeah, we’re gonna try to do that, try to get that done,” Spagnuolo said…WR Roger Lewis (ankle), CB Brandon Dixon (heel/hamstring) and WR Travis Rudolph (hamstring) were listed as questionable.
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