Davis Webb says he has a “12-hour rule” to forget about games, good or bad. Basically, when he wakes up the next day, he’s moved past any emotional attachment to his performance.
Yet when he showed up for work on Sunday morning, his first time getting back on the field after a disappointing 9-for-22 outing against the Browns on Thursday, he admitted that there still were some lingering feelings — an eagerness to correct the mistakes and a desire to prove himself to his teammates, his coaches and, well, himself.
“I was ready to practice,” he said with a grin.
Whether he is ready to play in a game if he is needed, the primary job of the backup quarterback, remains to be seen. Thursday’s game not only made Giants fans queasy about him as the No. 2 behind Eli Manning and the potential heir to the starting job — with such a small sample size of playing time, any erratic play will do that — but illustrated the differences between Webb and rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta.
And it showed that the gap between them might not be as wide as once believed.
While Webb clearly was over-excited to be experiencing his first game action in almost a year, sailing passes over receivers and firing close-range passes with way too much force, Lauletta looked poised in his NFL debut. He completed 6 of 9 passes for 48 yards.
“He’s very calm, and I think he finds a way to make plays,” coach Pat Shurmur said of Lauletta. “He’s got a calm presence about him.”
Lauletta said he’s always had that even-keeled demeanor. Webb said he knows he needs to learn to settle down, but he won’t change who he is as an excitable, competitive, talkative, fired-up player.
Both almost certainly will be on the roster when the season starts, but where they’ll sit on the depth chart remains to be seen. Early in training camp, Shurmur declined to name Webb the No. 2 even though he had taken all of the second-team reps in practices. That apparently remains the case.
“Nobody has said that Davis is definitely the backup, or me,” Lauletta said. “But it doesn’t matter. I’m going to do everything I can and perform the best I can and that decision will be left up to Coach. Of course I’ll be doing everything I can on the field to try to get that spot.”
In Sunday’s practice, each of the quarterbacks received a bit of a promotion. Eli Manning was a limited participant as the Giants managed his reps, which allowed Webb to work with the starters for the first time.
Webb was inconsistent, overthrowing several receivers and getting intercepted by Kerry Wynn on a screen pass (the defensive lineman seemed to know the play was coming his way). But he also showed nice touch in lofting a deep pass down the left sideline for Sterling Shepard and putting a ball on the sideline just where Odell Beckham Jr. was able to extend and pull it in for a long gain. Lauletta’s deeper passes were overthrown, but he had a few nice throws that were dropped.
Shurmur said part of the reason for resting Manning on Sunday was so he and the rest of the coaches could see more of their young quarterbacks. As the competition for the backup job tightens, it’s important to remember that Shurmur and the front office inherited Webb. They drafted Lauletta.
To keep his position ahead of Lauletta, Webb has to improve this week against the Lions. He knows that.
“I’ve watched that Cleveland game plenty of times, so I’ve pretty much memorized what I need to do,” he said. “The best part is it’s not like I can’t do it. There are no issues there. It’s a matter of fact.”
Perhaps. But a fact that still needs to be proved.