Davis Webb was hopped up a few weeks ago when he played his first game in almost a full year. Imagine how he’ll feel when he plays what might be his last game for another full year.
Webb isn’t thinking about that (he says) as he and the Giants approach Thursday night's preseason finale against the Patriots. Yes, it will likely give him his most extended playing time of the summer and, by default, the most playing time of his career. There’s a very strong chance he’ll start the game. But it’s also the annual “if everything goes according to plan” game for backup quarterbacks, particularly over the past decade and a half with the Giants, meaning that in an ideal world Eli Manning will take every snap of the upcoming season, as he has done for the majority of his career.
“I think I’ve taken a lot of steps each and every week,” Webb said, still shaking his head at the clunker against the Browns in Week 1 of the preseason. “Now it’s the fourth game, and I should play my best so far. I know I’m going to get a chance to play, and I’m looking forward to it.”
He’s also likely entering the season as the No. 2 quarterback, which is a far different place than he was in last season as a rookie. He was inactive for all but the final game in 2017, so not only did he never see the field, he also knew when 15 of the 16 games started that he would not see the field.
“I approached every game last year like I was going to play,” Webb said. “I’m sure it’ll be the same this year.”
Not quite. This year, if something happens to the 37-year-old Manning in a game, he’ll be the one to grab his helmet and rush in to the rescue.
“You never know,” Webb said of his approach. “Just work hard, and keep a pretty level head. Try to be as consistent as you can be, and try to be ready whenever your number is called.”
For most of the preseason, Webb has been. After completing 9 of 22 passes for 70 yards in the opener, Webb has connected on 19 of 31 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown in the past two games. He has not thrown an interception.
“I think anybody that goes in there, we want to see them play good football,” Pat Shurmur said of Webb. “I think that’s the most important thing. On the short horizon here, we want the players to go in and play good winning football against New England, and that’s what we’re looking for from all the players.”
Webb said there still are things he wants to work on while he has this chance to be on the field. He’d like to be more consistent delivering his passes, he said. While he has put a few right on target, he’s had a few others that have sailed on him, and he needs to improve his touch on checkdowns and shorter throws.
He’s also faced some competition for the No. 2 job. The Giants drafted Kyle Lauletta in the fourth round in April, and the rookie has looked surprisingly good in his preseason appearances. Webb, though, seems to have retained his slot on the depth chart.
Asked if there is anything he feels he has to prove to the Giants when he takes the field against the Patriots to further secure that role, Webb said: “It’s the NFL. You have to earn it every single day. You’re only as good as your last game.”
For a backup quarterback like Webb, this one could stand as that for a while.