Davis Webb had to think about it, but for only a moment.
The Giants’ second-year quarterback was asked if he is in the middle of the longest streak of his football life without having taken the field for a game. It’s been more than 11 months since he engineered a comeback drive against the Patriots on Aug. 31, 2017, and then spent the rest of the season watching from the sideline.
“Yeah, I guess,” he said. “But that happens to a lot of people if you are a second- or third-string quarterback in the NFL. Sometimes you have to wait a little bit.”
On Thursday, the streak ends. Webb figures to play – and probably play a lot – in the preseason opener against the Browns at MetLife Stadium. The quarterback who has been shrouded for most of his career with the Giants, who was a virtual unknown to the new front office and coaching staff, will be unveiled.
He’s the debutante of Giants quarterbacks, and this will be his ball.
“I think all the quarterbacks are going to get playing time and I’m excited to be one of them,” Webb said. “Go out there and play as hard as I can and translate what I’ve been doing in practice to the game field.”
He spoke about being “aggressively patient,” a phrase he borrowed from offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Shula. In other words, don’t try to cram a year’s worth of missed opportunities into one pass. Don’t force things. Try to eliminate mistakes rather than go for the jackpot on the risk-reward needle that vacillates in every quarterback’s brain.
“Don’t chase it, and just take what the defense gives you,” Webb said. “It’s one preseason game. Just kind of treat it as that and play the best I can.”
Webb may be downplaying the significance of his action in the preseason game, but the coaching staff isn’t.
“Yeah, for sure,” Shula said when asked if he is excited to see Webb in action. “He works so hard at it and you can tell it means a lot to him… You’re always rooting for those guys.”
Coach Pat Shurmur said he, too, will be glad to see Webb in a game situation.
“I think along the way I’ve gained an appreciation for Davis and his skill set and what he is able to do,” Shurmur said. “I’m looking forward to seeing it in a game.”
Webb wasn’t the reason the Giants didn’t take a quarterback with the second overall pick in the draft in April, but he was certainly part of the equation. The new coaching staff thought they had in Webb someone they could trust if things went away from the plotted course with Eli Manning and someone they can groom into Manning’s potential successor.
On Thursday, the Giants’ coaches and the entire NFL world gets to see him through that lens for the first time.
“I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of good things on the practice field,” Webb said. “I feel like I’ve gotten better every day. I think it’s easy to see from a year ago how much better I am and how much better I’m going to get.”
On Thursday, everyone will get a chance to see if that’s the case.