What Davis Webb Can Learn from Eli Manning

A look at Eli Manning’s Best intangible that Davis Webb would be wise to learn.

New York Giants quarterback school began on Monday, but don’t expect Eli Manning to serve this semester as a teacher.

That’s exactly how head coach Ben McAdoo wants it too, especially when rookie Davis Webb, the team’s third-round draft pick, arrives to “Giants U” to begin his studies on how to build a winning NFL offensive huddle.

“Eli needs to do his job, he needs to focus on getting ready to go out and play at a high level this year and be a good teammate like he always is,” said McAdoo, per the  New York Post.

“I’m sure the young guy is going to have some questions for him, but it’s not Eli’s job to get anybody ready to play this season and it’s not Eli’s job to go out and develop another quarterback.”

McAdoo, offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti will be Webb’s primary instructors when he shows up for rookie minicamp next week.

Manning, who won’t officially get to work with Webb until later in the month, will also probably contribute a bit to Webb’s development it the form of answering questions or sharing observations as they break down film. But the real value that Manning has to offer the rookie is in the intangibles.

“Obviously Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, so he is one of the best and a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Webb said after being drafted by the Giants last week.

“I am just excited to be in the same quarterback room as him and we will see what happens. I am just trying to be a great teammate first, be prepared from a week-to-week standpoint as a quarterback because I have a long way to go.”

Besides working on the Xs and Os, here are a few of those Manning exhibited intangibles from which Webb would benefit.

Have Thick Skin

The fans and media can be a tough group of people to face when thing don’t go according to plan.

that’s why having thick skin and perfecting a “poker face” when dealing with the media should be tops among those intangibles Webb stands to gain from observing Manning.

Manning has mastered the art of putting on a “poker face” when it comes to his inner most thoughts and emotions. He delivers his responses in that same “aw shucks” tone he brought in with him as a rookie in 2004, and rarely gets upset or excited when answering questions.

Perhaps the smartest thing Manning has done is avoid social media. He doesn’t own Twitter or Facebook accounts, at least not to anyone’s knowledge. When he says he doesn’t read the papers about the Giants or listen to sports talk radio program, he probably means it.

In short, Manning figured out very early on how to avoid being eaten alive by the allure and pitfalls that is New York.

Webb, who does have a Twitter account, would be wise to follow Manning’s lead in this regard so that he doesn’t inadvertently create any distractions for himself that might derail him from his goals.

Above all, Webb needs to make sure that when he does make a mistake—and he will because he’s human—that he doesn’t let it consume him.

Ignore the Clock

McAdoo kept former head coach Tom Coughlin’s practice of moving the clocks five minutes ahead, but other than taking note of the time so he’s not late for meetings, Manning is said to barely glance at the clock when he’s at work.

A quarterback needs to set an example by being among if not the first at work in the morning and the last to leave. They also need to set the example by spending off-hours at the team’s facility, voluntarily of course, to break down film, meet with coaches, lift weights and do whatever it takes so that no stone is left unturned.

That’s what Manning is all about and why he’s been able to enjoy the career he has had. All too often, drafted rookies make the mistake of not cranking up their offseason preparation because they figure so long as they keep on doing what they’ve done all along which got them to the NFL, they’ll stay in the NFL.

It doesn’t work that way. The NFL is a job, the cumulation of all those years spent in pee-wee, high school and college football.

If a player doesn’t raise the stakes in his preparation once he gets to the NFL, he’s  not going to last very long.

Develop an Early Leadership Presence

Rookie, by nature, are somewhat tentative when they come to a new team. They know they must start from scratch and earn the respect of their veteran teammates.

While no one is expecting Webb to come in and start throwing his weight around, there are things he can do to demonstrate to his teammates that he is indeed a worthwhile leader.

Serving as Manning’s second-in-command when he holds his annual spring passing camp at Duke University, an event that took place last month before the draft, would be a good place to start.

It also includes contributing in meeting rooks when the quarterbacks break down film because he might see something differently than Manning.

Check the Ego at the Door

Ultimately, Webb’s play will speak volumes for itself, probably more so than landing in the gossip columns or having his every move tracked on social media.

Manning, to this day, still has his ups and downs. If you were to ask him, he’d probably tell you that he can play better than he did last year.

It’s easy to point fingers elsewhere when things go wrong to protect one’s ego, but the good leaders know that it starts with them and they’re not afraid to point the finger at the guy in the mirror.

Manning has proven this time and again, and the fastest way for Webb to endear himself to his new teammates is to follow his lead.