The Giant Insider Online

Webb, Lauletta Will Stage Competitive Battle for Backup QB Job

The push by pundits and fans for the New York Giants to select a quarterback with the second overall selection in this spring’s NFL Draft was tempting, but general manager Dave Gettleman showed restraint and passed on players he didn’t want, opting for running back Saquon Barkley.

The reason why Gettleman passed on a quarterback in the first round is that he had two under contract for a few years on his roster already in Eli Manning and Davis Webb. He waited until Round 4 to grab one, Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta, who many scouts feel could end up being just as productive as the quarterbacks taken in Round 1.

The pick of Lauletta has caused a logjam of sorts in the quarterback room. He’s obviously the guy the new regime feels could be Manning’s successor, and have yet to make a decision on whether he or Webb will be the primary backup this season. Preseason play will likely sort that one out.

“He’s a New York Football Giant and we are trying to get him ready to play,” head coach Pat Shurmur said of Lauletta this week. “Really anybody on our 90-man roster could be out there playing against Jacksonville. You see we get reps for the 1’s, the 2’s and the 3’s and we certainly do a lot to get the quarterbacks ready, so I really don’t care where he was picked.”

The play of the backup quarterbacks has been impressive thus far. Both Webb and Lauletta have had their moments.

“I think they have consistently performed well throughout the camp,” said Shurmur. “I’ve watched it with a little different vision of what we want to get done, but they threw the ball well, they did some good things. What’s good about our practice sessions is we get a lot of different blitz combinations and concepts. It’s the real mental gymnastics that quarterbacks need to go through and I thought they did a good job of sometimes knowing if they were blocked properly, if there was an extra guy or making adjustments necessary to fix a problem.”

Webb is bigger, more mobile and has a better arm while Lauletta seems to have better field sense. Webb has worked too hard the past year to fall to third string.

“I really worked hard this summer on pocket movement and escaping, and avoiding the rush, and throwing on the run,” Webb told reporters on Monday. “That’s something I really try to enhance — throwing on the run once the play breaks down; getting out of the pocket.”

That’s a wrinkle the Giants have rarely enjoyed with Manning under center. Extending the play. It’s the pet peeve that former head coach Ben McAdoo had with Eli. McAdoo wanted Eli to be more like Aaron Rodgers but it he just didn’t her either in him.

Webb does, and the Giants will have to consider that if and when he finally does see action in a regular season game. Since arriving last season as a third-round draft pick out of Cal, he has attached himself to Eli’s hip but suddenly finds that hip is a bit more crowded this summer.

“We don’t ever look at it as competition,” Webb said. “You just got to do the best you can and let the coaches decide for them. That’s their job. Our job is to throw it to the open guy.”

But it is a competition. The old adage is that if you have two quarterbacks, you may as well have none. The Giants have three, and with Manning firmly entrenched as the starter, the pickings will be slim for his backups this season.

Shurmur is scrutinizing his quarterback group closely. As a former offensive coordinator he has a bar set for all of his units. The quarterback one is especially high.

“We have expectations and demands, we have standards, so when you’re out there watching them play, to the naked eye it may look like something was a good play when there is maybe some things he could have done better. There’s always fundamentals to talk about in terms of taking a snap, dropping back and throwing,” Shurmur said. “There is constant communication there. The one thing you mentioned, the fact that I’m hard on quarterbacks, I don’t know about that. We are very demanding. If you have been around enough quarterbacks, they are hard on themselves. They are driven to get it right.”

Webb can’t work any harder than he has been. His arm has wowed the crowd and his teammates and now it’s up to the football gods where he lands.

“I think you try to do the best you can to prepare, and when that time comes, hopefully you’re ready,” he said. “I got to see the worst of the worst last year. I got a first-hand experience in that one, even though I wasn’t totally in the fire, I was a fly on the wall per se. I was in the meeting rooms, I saw how our team kind of got hurt, and things didn’t go our way. But now, this is great. We’re moving on, and we’re ready to rock and roll.”

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