There is a good chance that, after the Giants trim their roster to 53 players, they’ll have only one quarterback who has ever taken a regular-season snap.
The two likeliest backups behind Eli Manning — Davis Webb and rookie Kyle Lauletta — have yet to appear in a game other than in the preseason. Alex Tanney, who has been the fourth-string quarterback all summer, would be the only experienced backup if the Giants decide to keep him. He’s played in one game in his career.
Pat Shurmur wouldn’t say on Friday if he’ll keep three or four quarterbacks (three is the norm), but he did say that if Manning were to miss time, whether it be a few snaps or a few weeks, he feels “confident with all three of those guys.”
Shurmur is coming off a season in Minnesota in which the team needed every quarterback it had available just to get through the schedule, so he may be a little wary of not being fully stocked at the position.
Of course, Shurmur hasn’t even revealed his backup quarterback. He’s been vague about the depth chart behind Manning all summer, and in Thursday night’s preseason finale, he turned that fluid situation into a wave pool by sitting Webb and having Lauletta start.
Was it a vote of confidence in Webb, that the Giants' coaches had seen enough to properly evaluate him and trust him? Or was it Webb, the quarterback these coaches and this front office inherited from the previous regime, being leapfrogged by the quarterback the coaches and front office drafted themselves?
“We felt like he’s had lots of reps this year whether it be practice, and really he had the most of anybody in the games as well,” Shurmur said of Webb and of the decision to bypass him on Thursday. “It had less to do about Davis and more to do about Kyle. We wanted to see what we had in Kyle and so that’s why we started him behind the second line . . . We also wanted to take a really good look at Tanney.”
They accomplished that. Now they have to decipher it and determine how they will proceed.
Not all of the Giants will be cut this weekend. In fact, a good number of them will be on the field in a little over a week against the Jaguars. Shurmur gave the players a few days off to begin their final preparations for Week 1 of the regular season. They’ll return to practice on Monday morning.
“I told them the important thing about this weekend is they’ve got to work on their recovery, so get their rest, try to eat right,” Shurmur said.
He also said he wouldn’t mind if the players started to mentally prepare for the Jaguars.
“Obviously, everything Jacksonville is on their iPads and we have sort of leaned towards Jacksonville in some of our drill work,” Shurmur said. “Even though we didn’t say, ‘Hey, this is a Jacksonville play’ or ‘This is Jacksonville’s defense,' it’s out there, and I’m sure some of them will look at it. But we’ll get them re-centered on Monday.”
S Darian Thompson is one of the players on the roster bubble who is dealing with an injury. He’s missed several weeks with a hamstring issue. Others in similar situations include T Nick Becton and RB Robert Martin, both of whom left Thursday’s game with ankle injuries. Regarding injuries and roster decisions, Shurmur said: “I don’t think you look at it as working for or against a player. An injury is what it is and I think each situation is a little bit different. We’ll just have to take a look at it.” . . . Manning publicly addressed Odell Beckham Jr.’s new five-year, $95-million extension for the first time on Friday. “I was excited for Odell,” he said. “I didn’t want that to be a distraction going into Week 1. I think he has done a great job of not making it a distraction, not talking about it, not making it an issue with the team. He has been at practice and done everything he is supposed to do. I know he is relieved it got worked out so we can put that behind us and worry about going out there and playing football. He’s handled the whole situation well and I’m just excited for him.”