Ryan Nassib’s first steps in the NFL were backwards.
The rookie quarterback played the fourth quarter and made his debut with 13:46 remaining in last night’s preseason game against the Steelers. But before he took his first snap the Giants had already jumped offsides (Stephen Goodin was flagged for a false start). When he finally did get the ball in his hands, he was dumped for a sack and a loss of another three yards. After a 1-yard run by Michael Cox, Nassib seemed to be having difficulty communicating with the sideline. He stood outside his huddle with his hands over the ear holes in his helmet listening to the play and by the time he relayed it to the 10 other Giants and got to the line of scrimmage there were only six seconds left on the play clock. Delay of game.
And those were the HIGHLIGHTS of his first drive because on the next play, third-and-22 from his own 16, a shotgun snap from Matt McCants sailed over his head and was recovered in the end zone by Adrian Robinson for the Steelers’ only touchdown of the game.
“It’s no secret it was a little bit of a rough start,” Nassib said after the game.
It left him and the Giants with nowhere to go but up.
Nassib’s second series was a three-and-out that netted minus-3 yards thanks to a holding penalty against Chase Clement and another quarterback sack. But on the third series, with the Giants holding onto a two-point lead that could have been erased by a Steelers field goal at any time, Nassib drove the Giants to the points that gave them a precious five-point lead.
The drive was sparked by a 29-yard pass down the right sideline to Julian Talley. Then Cox ran for 11 yards for another first down, and later converted a third-and-6 with a 12-yard gain. That gave the Giants the ball at the 29. They fumbled, but recovered, and Josh Brown was able to convert a 47-yard field goal for the 18-15 advantage.
“A lot more efficient,” Nassib said of his second and third drives. “We were making some silly mistakes and dumb penalties and that really hurt us. Those types of things are what set back drives … We were able to put together a nice little drive and get a field goal out of it. It’s just a great chance to look back and learn from this now so we can get ready for next week.”
It sounds like next week he may get some more opportunities. And some more weapons.
“We’ll have to let Ryan play some,” Tom Coughlin said after the game. “He was chased all over the place … He did make the play, though, that got the drive going to kick the field goal that kept it out of field goal range for them.”
So, what was it like for Nassib?
“It was definitely a little bit faster than I remember,” he said. “But once we got going it started to slow down.”