Five storylines to follow as the Giants prep for Week 15 against the Eagles:
A look at the key playmakers on the Eagles roster heading into Week 15
1. SPAGS STICKING WITH ELI
One of the Steve Spagnuolo's first decisions as interim head coach last week was returning Eli Manning to the starting lineup after his consecutive starts streak ended in Oakland, where Geno Smith got the nod. This week, Spagnuolo is sticking with him. Manning is set to start at home against the Eagles, who have already clinched the NFC East and are playing for the No. 1 seed.
"Well, right now I'm talking about I'm on the week-by-week and let's win the next game," Spagnuolo said. "To beat the Philadelphia Eagles right now, Eli Manning is the starting quarterback and I don't feel that changing, but I don't know what next week is going to bring."
2. ONGOING PREPARATION FOR WEBB
The Giants made the move to Smith with the future of their young players in mind, and that included rookie quarterback Davis Webb. But that was before the general manager and head coach were dismissed. Against the Cowboys last week, Smith returned to the backup role while Webb was again inactive. Spagnuolo, a defensive coordinator who has only had to think about the Giants' offense for a week as interim head coach, said they will handle Webb "probably no differently this particular week." But that could change in the final two weeks.
"He is one of the most hardworking young men in this building," Spagnuolo said of the third-round draft choice. "He's here all the time. He's a gym rat and [quarterbacks coach] Frank Cignetti has done a great job with him and the whole year now in preparation of becoming an NFL quarterback. There are things that they're doing together throughout the course of the week that, I mean, you wouldn't normally do for a – certainly not a practice squad player. You're always trying to get your guys ready, but Frank has got him thinking like he could be the next quarterback in the game.
"I mean, he's prepped him and gets him out there before games and they go through an extensive, I think, 40-minute throwing progression workout. There's tapes that Davis puts together for the offense, I believe, for the quarterbacks during the week that's keeping him in the mold. So, there's a lot of that ongoing preparation as we speak."
3. AWAITING STATUS OF COLLINS, PUGH
Since the Giants traded up to draft him with the first pick of the second round in 2015, safety Landon Collins has started all 46 games, including last year's postseason appearance in Green Bay. That streak, however, could come to an end. Collins sprained his ankle against the Cowboys, an injury he has dealt with previously this season.
"We got to find out a little bit more on Landon," Spagnuolo said Monday. "But he's going to tell you he's going to play all the time, which is what he just told me. We'll see as the week goes and how much work we can get out of him. But he's a little gimpy right now."
Meanwhile, offensive lineman Justin Pugh, who has missed four games with a back injury, is scheduled to get a second opinion on Wednesday. The results of that examination could dictate whether or not Pugh returns this season.
4. GETTING APPLE GOING
Spagnuolo recently had two conversations with second-year cornerback Eli Apple, the first one being about why he was inactive for last Sunday's game.
"I talked with Eli before the game when we deactivated him," Spagnuolo said. "He sat in my office and I said, 'Look, we need to get you going. Everybody wants you here helping us out, but this wasn't the week to do it.' He didn't get enough reps during the week. He did get some on Friday. I just didn't think it was enough to have him ready to do the things we were going to do in the defensive game plan and he understood that and the goal there as we shook hands and hugged was, 'Let's get you up and running next week.'"
The second conversation was about Apple tweeting during the game.
"Yeah, I heard about that," Spagnuolo said. "I had a conversation with Eli about that. I was disappointed. I told him I was disappointed. We'll decide exactly what we'll do with it, but it was disappointing. He apologized and we'll move on."
5. WENTZ DONE FOR YEAR; FOLES IN
Eagles coach Doug Pederson announced on Monday afternoon that quarterback Carson Wentz is out for the remainder of the 2017 season after suffering a torn left ACL the previous day against the Rams. Nick Foles will start in place of Wentz for the remainder of the year. Foles is 20-16 as a starter in the regular season, including 1-0 against the Giants.
"You never want to see a guy get injured and he's having a great year, he's playing well, the team's playing well and I feel for him," Manning said. "You never like to see another quarterback get injured, especially when they're having a great year."
"I played with Nick Foles," said cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, a former Eagle. "I was there for two years with him, so I know what he can do. I know he's a good quarterback. I think the system is going to function just the same. It's still the same game to me with him in there."
DRC added: "He can get that ball down the field. He gets it out fast, he's got a big arm, he can make all of the throws and you still have that running game behind him, so it's going to be tough."