FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Geno Smith said he accomplished what he set out to do this summer.
“That’s been my goal the entire time is to improve and get better as a quarterback,” he said on Thursday night after the Giants’ 40-38 victory over the Patriots in the final preseason game of the season and his final chance to win the backup job. “That’s the reason I came here, because I saw the ability to do that.”
Smith seemed to do just that, saving his best performance for last. He completed 10 of 11 passes for 111 yards and a laser beam 25-yard touchdown pass to Matt LaCosse. Was it enough to earn him a spot on the team?
“We’ll see,” he said.
The Giants will face that decision this weekend, and if they were hoping for any separation between their two main candidates for the backup job sandwiched between starter Eli Manning and rookie Davis Webb, who is expected to be the No. 3 quarterback, they did not get much. Although Smith was sharp and decisive, Josh Johnson was nearly as comfortable. He completed 11 of 14 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown.
“I was able to get some longer playing time, get a rhythm, and show what I can do as a passer and with my legs,” said Johnson, who also had a 5-yard scramble. “I was happy I was able to go out there and really show what I can do.”
Ben McAdoo gave no hint regarding the direction the Giants are leaning in the competition, other than perhaps his decision to give Smith the start.
“They both rose to the occasion,” McAdoo said. “We gave them each some reps in practice this week and let them both play and they both responded well.”
Only one can stay, though. They know that, even if they don’t dwell on it.
“I never really think about it, honestly,” Smith said. “I just want to go out there and play good football.”
“It’s the NFL lifestyle,” Johnson said.
Johnson added it will be business as usual for him this weekend while he waits to learn his fate with the Giants.
“I’ll just chill and see what happens,” he said.