Given his excitement Sunday, you would have thought Davis Webb was looking back with delight over throwing his first NFL touchdown pass. Or completing a key third-down throw late in the fourth quarter. Or celebrating his first career victory.
No, the special moment Webb will take away from Sunday’s regular-season finale was far less consequential, yet equally memorable for the rookie quarterback.
It was wearing a uniform.
“Honestly, I’m just excited I dressed in a New York Giants uniform,” he said. “You have no idea.”
Each week, hoping this might be the day, Davis would look for coaching assistant Chris Pridy and ultimately would be disappointed: “Pridy comes up to me and says, ‘Not today.’ ”
On Sunday, however, Pridy walked up to him and smiled.
“He shook my hand, and a lot of other people gave me hugs — coaches and players,” Webb said. “They were fired up just to see me in a New York Giants uniform. I was excited about that.”
A small step, perhaps, but a necessary one in a progression Webb hopes will lead to far more consequential moments in his Giants career.
The third-round pick in 2017 hopes he ultimately will be the answer to the team’s long-term needs at quarterback. With indecision about Eli Manning’s future and with the Giants in position to take a blue-chip quarterback with the second overall pick, Webb aims to become the starter once Manning’s time is over.
He has been told by several people within the organization that they believe he can take over at the team’s most important position someday. This despite the fact that Webb didn’t throw a pass all season.
“I do know people in this facility really believe in me,” he said. “My teammates really believe in me, and we’ll see what happens. They’ve told me. I’m not just saying that. They came up to me and told me they really do believe in me. They believe I have a great future here. They believe in me as a quarterback and as a person.”
Newly hired general manager Dave Gettleman and a yet-to-be-named head coach will have the final say over his future, but Webb believes his work ethic and talent will provide the necessary requirements for him to earn consideration as the future franchise quarterback.
His current coaches and teammates are familiar with the work ethic. Webb arrives at the team’s practice facility at 6:30 a.m. each day and doesn’t leave until about 8 p.m.
“People respect my work ethic, and they see me up here eating dinner with the coaches, my preparation from the mornings to the nights,” he said. “It does feel good when you get a congratulations or a thank you or a compliment when you do put in that much preparation and you don’t dress [for games] as much as you would like this year.”
Regardless of what the Giants do on draft day, Webb’s mission will remain the same.
“I don’t know what direction we’re going to go with [in the draft], but I’m going to be here, and I’m going to compete my [expletive] off and I’m excited for the opportunity to get better with another year under my belt,” he said. “I learned so much this season.”
Even though he didn’t play a down, he experienced plenty in his first NFL season, lessons he’ll be able to carry forward regardless of when — or even whether — he plays.
“[People say], ‘Man, your rookie season, you got to see a lot, from a disappointing season, to Eli getting benched and seeing how he handled that, to a coaching change,’ ” Webb said. “I saw a lot and I grew a lot as a person and, more importantly, as a quarterback.”
Now he will wait to see what unfolds around him, and if there will be a time when he doesn’t just wear a Giants uniform but plays in one.