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5 things we learned at media hour (6/2)

Posted Jun 2, 2017

Five takeaways from the Giants media availability following Friday's practice:

1. APPLE BULKED UP

Second-year cornerback Eli Apple put on 10 pounds this offseason and gained speed at the same time. Don’t believe him? He has the numbers to prove it. Players practice with a GPS device sewn into their jerseys, and last week Apple was clocked at his fastest speed since being drafted 10th overall in 2016. A sore hamstring has held him back recently, but Apple, now weighing in at 204 pounds, is confident he will be able to tackle better while matching up with bigger receivers.

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“I think I'll be more comfortable out there,” Apple said. “I'll be able to move faster and quicker. I'm already faster and just being stronger, being able to tackle more. Just bigger running backs and stuff and being able to press bigger receivers.”

2. AP MENTORING BJ

Watching the Giants part ways with Kelvin Sheppard in free agency didn’t change B.J. Goodson’s mindset. Neither did seeing the team not draft another linebacker this past April. “I’ve still got to work,” Goodson said today. “Nothing’s changed. I’ve still got to work. I’ve still got to go get the job.”

Coaches and teammates have praised Goodson for the job he’s done at middle linebacker during OTAs, citing his confidence and voice in calling out plays. No one exceled in that department more than Antonio Pierce did for the Giants from 2005-2009. The Super Bowl XLII champion is around for the rest of the offseason as a coaching intern.

“He's always dropping advice and knowledge on me,” Goodson said. “He drops a lot of knowledge on me. So it isn’t one particular thing that I could tell you that he does, but he's always telling me whether it's formation recognition or any little thing. The details, he's always on me about the details, but he does a great job of helping me and really appreciate it.”

3. INJURY NOTES

The Giants have a handful of players who were sore today and held out for precautionary reasons. That list included new Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall. “We were smart with him today,” McAdoo said.  “He is sore, so we don’t want to push the issue this time of the year.”

Meanwhile, tight end Rhett Ellison, another free-agent acquisition, is dealing with a sore calf. Likewise, the Giants are just trying to be smart this time of year, and Ellison said today that he is getting better.

“You really have to embrace the mental reps,” Ellison said of learning the offense. “You really have to just visualize it and put yourself in that situation as much as you can without actually being in the situation. It also helps with younger guys in the room, so everyone is kind of learning it right now. You just have to embrace the mental [aspect].”

The former Viking also likes what he sees from rookie Evan Engram, the Giants’ first-round draft pick.

“He works hard on and off the field, so just a ton of upside to him,” Ellison said. “He looks great out there.”

Ellison added: “It is a really unique [tight ends] room, great dudes. A lot of different skills and a lot of different strengths. It is definitely a fun room to be a part of.”

4. LACOSSE WON THE DAY

Staying on the subject of tight ends, Matt LaCosse was the talk of the day after making some impressive catches in practice. Originally signed as an undrafted rookie in 2015, LaCosse suffered a series of injuries that has kept him on injured reserve for most of his career. Nevertheless, the Giants have stuck with him, and today was a reminder why. LaCosse said today that he trained in New Jersey all offseason and saw a chiropractor three times a week with the hope of staying healthy this season.

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“He made some nice plays,” McAdoo said. “He is a big target down there in the green zone. Matchup-wise, he gives you that length that you are looking for, he can run and he is a functional blocker, so he has a nice skillset.”

5. FLUKER HAS A LOT TO PROVE

Originally the 11th overall pick by the Chargers in the 2013 NFL Draft, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker signed with the Giants after Los Angeles released him in March. Fluker, who started 61 out of a possible 66 regular-season and postseason games in which he played the last four seasons, is playing right guard for the Giants at OTAs.

“I’ve got a lot to prove,” Fluker said. “More than just being a player, just to prove the team that let me go wrong. So I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. I’m very hungry right now.”

Fluker added: “[The Giants just told me] to bring that fire, that intensity. They want that same player they saw get drafted in 2013."