How much can Davis Webb realistically contribute?
Although third-round pick Davis Webb is widely regarded as the heir to Eli Manning, Giants co-owner John Mara was quick to remind everyone this offseason that it would be unwise to rush towards such a conclusion.
He’s right. While obviously, the Giants would like to have all their draft picks work out for them, the truth is it doesn’t happen.
But on an even deeper level, considering what happened with how far off the cliff Ryan Nassib fell in his last year with the team, the hesitation is understandable.
Nassib, remember, is a player they traded up to get, and a guy who had supposedly run a similar system to what the Giants currently run in college.
Whereas logic dictated that he should have been getting better in each of his last three years, especially after Kevin Gilbride was replaced by Ben McAdoo as offensive coordinator, that wasn’t the case. As a result, Nassib’s regression left the Giants to have to start from scratch in finding Manning’s potential successor.
Can Webb contribute anything as a rookie?
Sure he can, but in the quarterbacks meeting room.
The quarterbacks, for those who don’t know, usually spend hours watching film together, dissecting every little thing they see. Eli Manning himself has commented over the years how sometimes someone else might see something he missed and vice versa. It’s how the quarterbacks help get each other better from a mental perspective.
Even though Webb is a rookie coming from a totally different system, he can still contribute his observations during film study. But more importantly, expect him to pick up a lot of valuable information that is going to ultimately help slow down the pro game for him as the weeks and months go on.
Will we see a lot of him this preseason?
It would be surprising if Webb doesn’t get into a game or two this preseason. However, we don’t think he’s going to see “a lot” of snaps as a rookie for a couple of reasons.
First, the Giants need to resolve their backup quarterback spot between Geno Smith and Josh Johnson. So logic would dictate that those two will probably get a significant amount of snaps if Smith is healthy, with Webb maybe getting some mop-up work.
Second, because last year head coach Ben McAdoo limited Eli Manning’s preseason appearances to just 48 snaps, it will be interesting to see if Manning gets a bump in snaps this year now that he has some new weapons with which to work.
What we think McAdoo will do is let Manning take his turn starting, then alternate each week between Smith and Johnson at No. 2 before finishing up with Webb.
At that point in the game, Webb will probably be facing the same level of competition he faced in college but competition that, like him, is learning a NFL system which is more complex and faster. That should give him an even playing field, so to speak.
What’s the biggest hurdle Webb needs to overcome this year?
Webb will tell you he has to work on everything, but there are a few specific things he needs to work on if he’s to survive as a NFL quarterback.
The biggest thing that sticks out is his deep-ball accuracy. According to Pro Football Focus’s Draft Pass guide, Webb completed just 36 of 103 deep passes.
A big part of that, former NFL quarterback Jim Zorn told us, is that Webb needs to learn how to make reads at the NFL and finish throws.
I think what happens in the Air Raid offense, you have to figure out where and when to throw. Sometimes you get coached to wait until the receivers even with the defensive back to throw the vertical. If you wait, you’re going to be late, because a go-route or a vertical on the outside especially has to be thrown in rhythm.
When a quarterback is trying to be accurate, sometimes he won’t finish throws, so that’s were more and more confidence comes in with the read.
Very few rookie quarterbacks can step right in on Day 1 and look like they’ve always belonged—Dak Prescott proved to be one of the biggest and most recent exceptions.
That’s what’s going to make the bulk of this year’s quarterback lass interesting to watch. Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City), Webb (Giants), Nate Peterman (Buffalo), Brad Kaaya (Lions) and Joshua Dobbs (Pittsburgh) all have veterans in front of them where Mitchell Trubisky (Bears), DeShaun Watson (Texans), DeShone Kizer (Browns) and C.J. Beathard (49ers) are potentially likely to be tossed into the lineup earlier than perhaps their coaches would like.
Ideally, it’s best to bring a young quarterback along and let him transition to the intricacies of the pro game. The Giants are fortunate enough to have time on their side so long as Eli Manning remains standing.