The Giants Guys

Webb takes a step back in preseason loss to Browns

Coming into the preseasons, the backup quarterback role for the New York Giants was Davis Webb’s to lose. Now, after a scattershot performance which exposed glaring holes in his game, the job is suddenly wide open again.

Webb looked downright awful, hitting just 9 of 22 passes for 70 yards against the Cleveland Browns’ second and third-string defenses. But those numbers don’t do his performance must justice. He was actually worse.

The second-year QB out of Cal, who the Giants selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, didn’t have the luxury of playing in a regular season game as a rookie and his greenness showed. His accuracy and timing were way off and his lack of field sense and confidence was evident.

Webb had worked diligently this past offseason, hoping to prove to the new regime – GM Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur – that he deserves a shot to be their QB of the future.

The Giants bypassed several “stud” quarterbacks in the first round of the draft to take RB Saquon Barkley, believing that incumbent Eli Manning, 37, is still a viable player and that Webb could possibly be a solid backup. So far in training camp, they’ve been right about all of that, but Webb’s showing versus the Browns could draw some shade on that thinking.

“He is so prepared and he wants to do well, that’s just his personality, and he does get amped up a little bit but that’s not a bad thing,” said Shurmur on Friday. “Wanting to do well is a good thing. I think we as coaches can just help him with that.”

Webb was having a godawful night when the Giants took possession of the football on their own 36 with 1:02 to play. He hit four consecutive passes to move Big Blue down to the Cleveland 27 with 19 seconds remaining. He fired a pass to the front left corner of the end zone intended for a wide open Kalif Raymond. The pass was over thrown.

“I know exactly what happened, it was a corner route and we missed it,” said Shurmur when asked about the play.

The next play was more an error of omission rather than commission. The coaches wanted Webb to complete a pass near the sideline and have the receiver get out of bounds so they could set up a field goal before the half.

Instead, Webb hit Russell Shepard at the 21 for a six yard gain. The pass was too far off the sideline for Shepard to get out of bounds. The clock kept running and Webb could not rally the team to get to the line to spike the ball and stop the clock.

“We have to get out of bounds on that play,” said Shurmur. “We called a route to get out of bounds and the throw was thrown inside, and it makes it almost impossible for the receiver to continue out of bounds. We knew we had to use the sideline because we didn’t have any timeouts. We had that communicated effectively, it just didn’t get done.”

Those and other miscues could haunt Webb going forward. What really might do him in is the fact that the team’s third-string quarterback, Kyle Lauletta, was drafted by the new regime and appears to have the traits that Webb may be lacking. Lauletta was 6-for-9 for 48 yards in his short stint on Thursday.

“He’s very calm, and I think he finds a way to make plays,” said Shurmur of Lauletta. “He had a nice deep ball down the sideline to Amba [Etta-Tawo] that ended up being a [pass interference]. In fact, somebody asked me at one point why we practice the one-handed catches – that was it right there. They arm-barred us and Amba had a chance to make the one-handed catch. We got the penalty, but we certainly would’ve wanted the catch. But I [think] he’s got a calm presence about him. I think he lost control of the clock once, we got the ball snapped, but those are all things you learn when you’re playing. So, it wasn’t a bad performance to start out for him.”

The competition just got tighter. Much tighter.

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