Collins not ready to call it quits on Giants' dreadful year

FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2017, file photo, New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins (21) reacts after intercepting a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in Denver. Collins was selected to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney, File)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) For the past couple of weeks, Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins of the New York Giants has struggled preparing for games.

It has nothing to do either with the Giants’ dreadful season or the frustration of losing week after week. New York is 2-12 heading into Sunday’s game at the Cardinals (6-8).

Collins has been banged-up all season and his left ankle seemingly is getting worse. Despite being doubtful for last week’s game against the Eagles, the third-year safety started. He lasted until early in the second quarter before tweaking the ankle again.

“I wasn’t 100 percent at all,” Collins said Wednesday about playing against Philadelphia. “I just felt like my presence on the field would help my defense. It kind of did in the first half and I tried to just make it work from there. It was working until I tweaked it.”

Collins was noticeably limping in warmups Wednesday and he did not practice. It would make sense for him to rest the final two games of the season rather than hurt himself any more. That’s just not him.

Interim coach Steve Spagnuolo almost laughed when asked if it was time to shut down the player who finished third in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 and on Tuesday was selected for the Pro Bowl.

“Have you seen him yet today?” Spagnuolo said. “Have you asked him that yet? He’s still hopeful. We’ll see. We got to be careful.”

Collins laughed harder about calling it a season.

“Not at all,” he said. “That’s not built in me. I’m definitely going to give my other guys some reps at the position, but I’m definitely not in the mindset to shut it down.”

Collins scoffed at the idea of hurting the ankle more.

“There’s always a danger,” he said. “It happens, it’s the game of football. I know my health, I know where I’m at with it and I know my limitations.”

Collins leads the Giants with 98 tackles. He also has three tackles for losses, two quarterback hurries, two interceptions, six passes defended, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

It earned him his second straight selection as the starting strong safety on the NFC Pro Bowl team.

The statistics are not as good as a year ago, when he had 125 tackles, five interceptions, 13 passes defended and four sacks. Opponents took notice of that this season, and they prepared for Collins.

“We can’t always get to those seasons,” the Alabama product said. “I got a lot of eyes on me this year. I was on a lot of one on one’s with linemen and stuff like that. It’s kind of hard to get to the quarterback this time. They’re definitely getting the ball out quicker, I didn’t get a lot of passes thrown my way, and I should have had a couple more picks, but stuff happens.”

The Giants are banged-up at the safety position. Free safety Darian Thompson tweaked his knee last week, and Nat Berhe missed last week’s game with a concussion. Berhe also did not practice Wednesday and Thompson was limited.

That left Andrew Adams and Ryan Murphy, a former practice squad player who made his NFL debut this past weekend, to handle most of the workload.

NOTES: Rookie quarterback Davis Webb took six of the eight snaps when the first-team offense went against the first team defense. Spagnuolo said that doesn’t mean Webb will be active this week. It was just another step in getting him ready for his NFL debut. … MLB B. J. Goodson (ankle), WR Tavarres King (concussion) and DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger) did not practice. CB Brandon Dixon (heel/hamstring), C Brett Jones (ankle). TE Rhett Ellison (groin/finger) and WR Travis Rudolph (hamstring) practiced fully. … DT Damon Harrison was selected as an alternate for the Pro Bowl.

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