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Webb will be targeted replacing Eli Apple at cornerback

September 21, 2018

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — New York Giants cornerback B.W. Webb is going to be targeted by the Houston Texans this weekend.

It’s a given.

Starting cornerback Eli Apple is going to miss the game with a hamstring injury and Webb seemingly is going to replace him in the starting lineup. That gives Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson two options. Throw at Pro Bowl cornerback Janoris Jenkins or go after Webb, a five-year veteran who didn’t play a down last season in limited time with Cleveland.

It’s a no brainer. It was the strategy Dak Prescott and the Cowboys used successfully after Apple left Sunday night’s game.

While the Texans (0-2) have two outstanding receivers in DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, Webb has typical cornerback confidence. He believes he can fill in well for the Giants (0-2).

“I don’t go into any situation thinking I am going to be a backup,” Webb said Friday. “It’s kind of been the tale everywhere I went. Where I go, somebody goes down, and I step up, whether the starter, nickel, outside. It’s just the nature of football.”

Webb came into the NFL as a fourth-round pick by Dallas out of William & Mary in 2013. He has played in 53 NFL games with Dallas, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, New Orleans and now the Giants. He has 10 career starts.

Coach Pat Shurmur believes in the guys and his pass defense, which is allowing an average of 164 yards, No. 2 in the league.

“We’ve got guys that we trust and we’re going to put them in there and we trust that they’re going to go out there and play well,” he said.

Shurmur also can use cornerback Donte Deayon, who has a nose for the ball. He dropped an interception against Dallas.

“He’s a good cover guy and he has a good knack for getting his hands on the ball,” Shurmur said. “Even though he hasn’t secured some of the interceptions, he’s at least getting his hands on the ball. We’ve just got to finish those with picks. That’s really his strong suit, is being able to cover.”

The Giants have to worry about more than covering the pass. The Texans have averaged an NFL-best 157.5 yards rushing. The Giants are allowing 137.5 yards rushing, 29th in the league.

Opposing quarterbacks have hurt New York with their legs. Blake Bortles of the Jaguars had four carries for 42 yards and Prescott had seven for 45. That’s 87 yards on 11 carries, a 7.9 yard average.

Defensive coordinator James Bettcher has spent a lot of time in recent weeks working on zone reads for is defense.

“I got to coach it better, and then collectively as a group, we’ve got to execute it better,” Bettcher said. “There’s no magic pixie dust to sprinkle on it, nothing like that. It is coach it better, and execute it better. That’s a very simple solution, to be very honest with you.”

Defensive captain Landon Collins believes the unit has finally fixed the problem. The Giants just have to stop the run Sunday.

“They’re the top rushing team for a reason,” Collins said. “They’re doing really good at what they do best. Like I said, we just got to do what we do best on defense, stop the run, and try to get them in long distances so we can get off the field.”

NOTES: LB Olivier Vernon is going to miss his third straight game with a high ankle sprain. He admitted he is frustrated not playing, but once again deferred questions about his injury and possible return to Shurmur. ... LB Connor Barwin (knee) practiced fully after being limited Thursday. TE Evan Engram (ankle) also is ready.

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