CINCINNATI -- It's Nassib Time!
Yes, the preseason begins on Friday night and with it the annual opportunity for the Giants' backup quarterback to see extended playing time on the field. Being stuck behind one of the most durable players in the history of the league severely limits the number of snaps Ryan Nassib gets once the season begins for real in September. So while these preseason games are relatively meaningless, they represent a significant and rare chance for Nassib to demonstrate his abilities and further the trust players and coaches have in him should the unthinkable occur.
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"Obviously this is my chance to play and go into the games knowing that I'm going to have playing time," said Nassib, who was 14 years old the last time anyone other than Eli Manning started a game at quarterback for the Giants. "It's something you look forward to. You practice all season and the first couple of weeks of training camp and then you have a chance to go out and play against another team. We're all looking forward to it."
Nassib will relieve Manning early in Friday's game against the Bengals. He may wind up yielding to third-string quarterback Ricky Stanzi at some point later in the game, but he is expected to get the majority of the snaps. As a third-year player, the Giants want to see that Nassib has made the appropriate jump in his level of play, even if they also hope he never gets a chance to truly demonstrate it.
"For his development, yeah, this is where he takes that next step," Tom Coughlin said of Nassib's preseason reps. "He's got to move the ball, control the offense [and] put points on the board."
Nassib also has another responsibility that backup quarterbacks hold in these games. He'll be playing with younger, less experienced, less polished players on the second and third units and part of his job will be to allow them to showcase their skills and make the team. Corey Washington, for example, made a big splash last preseason not by catching passes from Manning but by teaming up with Nassib. One-time Giants backup quarterback David Carr was the first to throw deep passes to Hakeem Nicks when Nicks was a rookie, providing a warm-up act for Manning.
"I've been working with them and I want to make sure that they get a chance to showcase their abilities as well," Nassib said of those who might be on the roster bubble. "But you can't really force the issue on that."
As for his own game, Nassib said he has worked on pacing since his last opportunity to play. He's trying to play faster, he said, and have the game slow down "to where it's reacting as opposed to thinking too much."
"Just take what we've been working on and take it out on the field," he said of his goal on Friday. "In the preseason you don't game-plan as much as you would in the regular season, so it's really just to show how your training is kicking in.
"I still think I still have a lot to prove."
He'll have all preseason to do so.