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EAST RUTHERFORD James Daniels Jersey , N.J. (AP) Coming off a troubling season, New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple seemingly has grown up.
A bad attitude led to a suspension for the final game of the 2017 season and a couple of benchings earlier in the campaign has been replaced by a business-like approach.
That’s rapid progression for a soon-to-be 23-year-old who appeared to have worn out his welcome two years after the Giants drafted him with the 10th pick overall.
The change didn’t just come. It’s been coming since Pat Shurmur was named coach and Dave Gettleman took as general manager. They met with Apple after a 3-13 season and told him he would be starting with a clean slate.
”It is definitely important for me, first impressions,” Apple said. ”I just wanted to show that I was a hard worker and just continue to show that even now as we continue to go on with these practices, staying on top of that and trying to get better every day.”
Apple is going to be a key piece for the Giants in James Bettcher’s 3-4 system. He has the talent to be a lock-down cornerback, which would give the Giants two. Janoris Jenkins is on the other side of the field.
”They have a lot of confidence in me,” Apple said of the coaching staff. ”They told me that they feel I am a really good player and as long as I listen to them, I can get better and become a Pro Bowl player. I see that as well. With my athleticism, I see myself, especially in this defense, I see myself as excelling in it and I am looking forward to the season.is”
Apple started 11 of 14 games as a rookie and finished with two interceptions, 49 tackles http://www.officialknightsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-brad-hunt-jersey , and a fumble recovery, playing on a team that went 11-5 and earned a playoff berth. Last year was a horror. He started seven of 11 games, didn’t have an interception, and was suspended for the final game of the season for getting into an argument with coaches about playing on a scout team. The Giants called it conduct detrimental to the team.
Safety Landon Collins didn’t hesitate to say last season that Apple needed to grow up.
Apple won’t say what caused the turnaround, but it’s obvious something has changed.
On the field now, Apple is all smiles and ready to work. The former Ohio State product frequently goes over to Jenkins and picks his brain.
”Like when I see Jackrabbit make a play on the other side, I think to myself, `OK, it’s time for me to make a play if the quarterback comes my way,”’ Apple said of Jenkins. ”But it’s always fitting that I’m trying to pick his brain because he was All-Pro, Pro Bowl corner, so he’s definitely one of the best in the game. So Artemi Panarin Jersey , if I can learn as much as I can from him, that’ll make me a better player.”
Apple also is taking no downs off. Early in Saturday’s workout, he hounded first-year receiver Amba Etta-Tawo on a pass over the middle. Later on the Giants’ first day in pads, he gave second-overall draft pick Saquon Barkley a good bump on a running back.
Shurmur certainly has been impressed by the new version of Apple.
”With my eyes, just a few months into this, I’m seeing a guy that’s all about his business,” Shurmur said. ”He is very business-like and he is covering really well, which is a good attribute for a corner. I like the way he is working. He’s out there challenging but he is also being smart. Based on what I have seen, there are very few mistakes that he is making when we move the coverage around and I like the way he is functioning in the building.”
The Bengals celebrated their 50th season last year, finishing 7-9. They're reaching back into history again for a bit of nostalgia, honoring their 1988 Super Bowl team 鈥?the last one to do anything noteworthy in the postseason.
Owner Mike Brown remembers those giddy days 30 years ago.
"Do I think about that? All the time," Brown said. "That's what's in my mind. I know the feeling you're talking about Paul Hornung Jersey , and I want us to somehow come back and grab onto that again. It's the best of times, and some of that is what keeps me plugging along here."
The Bengals haven't won a playoff game since the 1990 season, the sixth-longest streak of postseason futility in NFL history. They've had seven chances under coach Marvin Lewis and blown them all, including an epic last-minute meltdown against the Steelers in the 2015 season at Paul Brown Stadium.
They open a new season trying to outrun a lot of bad recent history.
The stadium will likely have a lot of empty seats when the Bengals bring members of the '88 team onto the field during their season opener against Baltimore on Thursday, Sept. 13. They failed to fill the stadium for any game last season, and attendance dropped noticeably as a second straight losing season wound down.
Lewis was noncommittal about sticking around, but was rewarded with a two-year extension and a 16th chance to try to get it right. Brown's decision to stay with a coach who has the worst playoff record in NFL history sent a message of more-of-the-same in Cincinnati, where many fans have given up.
"Of course I worry about attendance figures," Brown said. "I've been able to add and subtract for a long time. I can look out there. I see what you see. Does it bother me? It bothers me to my core. I don't like it, and I dearly want to get us back to where we have the enthusiasm and the support that I think we want."
Five things to watch with the Bengals this season:
CH-CH-CHANGES: Even though Lewis stayed, Brown permitted significant changes in the coaching staff, including a new set of coordinators on offense and defense from a year ago and a new offensive line coach. While avoiding change at the top Anders Lee Jersey , Brown is hoping adjustments in the staff are enough to make a difference.
OH-THAT-LINE: The offensive line was the biggest reason the Bengals finished last in the league in yards gained. They traded with Buffalo for left tackle Cordy Glenn, signed right tackle Bobby Hart and drafted center Billy Price in the first round. The overhauled line had some issues in the preseason and will be the focus throughout the season.
DALTON 8.0: Quarterback Andy Dalton has proven he can be among the league's most efficient passers when he's got time. He's not as adept at improvising, and last year he spent a lot of time on the run because of the line's inability to protect him. The Bengals have put more emphasis on big plays under coordinator Bill Lazor, throwing deep often during preseason. The Bengals need breakout years from receiver John Ross and running back Joe Mixon 鈥?their top two picks last year 鈥?along with third-year receiver Tyler Boyd.
GROUNDED DEFENSE: The Bengals gave multiyear extensions to defensive end Carlos Dunlap and tackle Geno Atkins before the final preseason game, making them the foundation of a unit looking for improvement. The defense slipped to 18th in yards allowed last season.
TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE: The Bengals sold only 47,732 tickets for their final home game last year in their 65,515-seat stadium, their smallest crowd since 2011. They didn't come close to filling the stadium for any game, not even against the Steelers and their large contingent of fans. For their first preseason home game this season, the Bengals sold only 35,633 tickets.
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