New York Giants’ rookie cornerback Eli Apple lines up against Odell Beckham Jr. every time the Giants practice. So, Saturday night against the New York Jets he wanted to test himself against another of the game’s best wide receivers — Brandon Marshall of the New York Jets.
Unfortunately for Apple, the Jets chose to sit the six-time Pro Bowler with a hip injury.
“I definitely was watching a lot of film trying to study him and then you find out right before the kickoff that he is not going to play. I was like, ‘Shoot.’ I wanted the chance, the opportunity, but he is a great receiver and I probably might be able to see him down the road,” Apple said Saturday night.
The rookie had to content himself by blanketing veteran Eric Decker and anyone else the Jets ran at him. Apple knocked a red zone slant away from Decker early in the game, and forced incompletions later on a pair of deep balls.
“As a corner, you want to get your chances to make an impact on the game and everything,” Apple said. “So anytime they target you, it's an opportunity.
“I think I responded pretty well on a couple of throws. I still could have better technique on some things so I am just going to watch film and correct it.”
Apple’s best play of the night might have been batting away the slant to Decker on a pass from Jets’ starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
“I could have been inside a little bit more but I finished the play the way I was supposed to, by breaking the ball up and it was a good play,” Apple said.
This was an encouraging performance for Apple. The 10th overall pick missed last week’s game against the Buffalo Bills, and his solid play against the Jets is obviously a good sign.
“The more experience I get, just naturally the confidence is going to get better as well,” Apple said. “I just want to get out there on the field and try to compete on every down and get my confidence up.”
The Giants’ confidence in the young corner has to be up after what they saw Saturday.