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Giants-Saints snap counts: Eli Apple plays 59 of 62 snaps

What can we learn from snap counts, Pro Football Focus grades?

New Orleans Saints v New York Giants
Eli Apple knocks a pass away from Brandin Cooks in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

There are several interesting things we can glean from a look at the snap counts Sunday in the New York Giants’ 16-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Perhaps none more interesting, though, than the fact that rookie cornerback Eli Apple played 59 of 62 defensive snaps, while Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played just 39.

Is DRC, who has over the past couple of seasons been on and off the field during games while managing a variety of injuries, once again banged up?

Apple, the Giants’ surprising first-round pick, continues to play well. Apple gave up a handful of completions Sunday, but kept plays in front of him, tackled well and supported the run. Trailing 13-10, the Saints challenged Apple deep midway through the fourth quarter. Apple forced an incompletion on the throw to Brandin Cooks with outstanding coverage.

“We have three starting corners,” coach Ben McAdoo said.

Here are some other takeaways from the snap counts.

Linebacker usage

The Giants played in nickel and dime pass defenses most of the day, the right move since New Orleans ran 13 times and passed 44 times. “Starting” linebackers Kelvin Sheppard and Devon Kennard each played only 10 snaps. Keenan Robinson played 52 snaps. Pretty obvious that the Giants don’t see Kennard, now in his third year, as an every down linebacker.

Defensive tackle Damon Harrison was also impacted by the Giants playing pass most of the game. He was on the field for just 34 snaps.


Darian Thompson started, and played 45 snaps. Nat Berhe was on the field for 17 plays. Landon Collins was the only defender on the field for every defensive snap, 62 in all.

Romeo rising

Undrafted rookie defensive end Romeo Okwara played 19 snaps. Owamagbe Odighizuwa, the 2015 third-round pick, played 16. Kerry Wynn saw just five snaps.


Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul were on the injury report late in the week. Vernon, with a big wrap on his left hand, played 60 of 62 snaps. He had a quiet game, though, with just one assist and one hit on Drew Brees. Pierre-Paul was also fairly quiet, with a tackle, a hit and a pass defensed.

Right tackle

When Marshall Newhouse went down with a calf strain, Bobby Hart took that spot. Hart played the final 12 offensive snaps.

Pro Football Focus grades

Top offensive grades

QB Eli Manning, 84.9

WR Sterling Shepard, 78.6

RG John Jerry, 78.5

C Weston Richburg, 73.2

LT Ereck Flowers, 72.7

Top defensive grades

CB Janoris Jenkins, 87.7

DE Jason Pierre-Paul, 82.0

LB Jonathan Casillas, 80.9

CB Leon Hall, 79.3

DT Johnathan Hankins, 78.4