Davis Webb said he learned his first lesson from Eli Manning.
“I haven’t said ‘sir,’ ” the rookie quarterback said with a smile on Friday after receiving a mild scolding when he showed that respect for the two-time Super Bowl MVP during their first conversation.
Coming to the Giants, particularly as a quarterback, it must be difficult to avoid using such honorifics for Manning. You can’t walk into the team’s cafeteria or down the hallway of the complex without coming across a bigger-than-life mural of Manning on the wall or the window. When it comes to faces of the franchise, it’s pretty clear who the Giants have chosen as their representative.
So how does Webb plan to fit in with all of that?
“I’m just going to be myself,” he said after his first rookie minicamp practice on Friday. “Obviously he’s one of the best to ever play this game, so I want to be a sponge around him. I don’t want to nag him and be that little rookie, but at the same time if I have a question I feel like I should ask I’m going to ask it. Whenever he’s doing stuff, taking seven-on-seven drills, I’ll be taking mental notes and trying to put his game to mine and try to get better.”
No one thinks Webb will challenge Manning for playing time this season. Eventually, though, it could come to that.
One of the Giants coaches who has known Manning the longest said that the veteran is handling the presence of a potential replacement very well.
“I think Eli is time and again the consummate professional,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. “He’s going to go about his business trying to improve and trying to still take that approach that he’s had in all the years that I’ve known him. That is not as a No. 1 pick or two-time Super Bowl MVP, but more of an undrafted free agent. Having a great hunger, he’s his own harshest critic looking at the mistakes that he’s made and the things that he wants to improve upon from last year. I don’t see there being any sense of competition or resentment or anything other than [Webb]’s another guy in the room.”
If anything, Sullivan said, Manning has been inspired by Webb’s arrival.
“I don’t see there being any type of effect with bringing someone else into the room,” he said. “He is locked in, he’s zeroed in as much as I’ve ever seen him.”