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Eli Apple discipline stemmed from practice conduct

The New York Giants are in a bad place.

The team is winless through five games; their top three wideouts are sidelined, two for the season; and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, one of the team's integral cornerbacks, was suspended indefinitely by the team following a heated argument between him and embattled coach Ben McAdoo.

But DRC wasn't the only Giants defensive back to earn the ire of his coaching staff last week.

Eli Apple mysteriously sat out the first three drives of New York's Week 5 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo learned that Apple's absence was not a demotion in response to poor play, but a disciplinary reaction due to poor conduct in practice.

As Garafolo reported Saturday on Good Morning Football Weekend, Apple was speaking back to coaches during last week's practices and earned the ensuing benching. The corner also yelled something in the direction of, but not necessarily at, Giants vice president of community relations Frank Mara after Rodgers-Cromartie left the field unceremoniously in the second half.

Apple said, when asked this week about his brief ban, "I just stay in my lane, that's all I do." When asked whether he expects to start against the Denver Broncos this week, he was equally vague, saying, "I expect to just go hard when I'm out there on the field."

This Apple quarrel makes more contentious an already sensitive situation in East Rutherford, as McAdoo must grapple with a season, a locker room and a position group in the midst of unraveling. Self-heralded as the N.Y.P.D. (New York Pass Defense) Blue last season, the Giants secondary has underwhelmed on and off the field in 2017, earning more derision and fewer monikers.

Apple and company still have time to right their wrongs, but if not, the Giants' defense and their season will rot to their core.

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