If things go according to plan, this will be the last we see of Ryan Nassib in his rookie season. After Thursday night's preseason finale against the Patriots, he'll be boxed up and put into storage until next year's preseason, the words "Use only in emergency" stamped on his uniform.
"It is kind of weird to think about," Nassib said. "It's just the way the situation is. I'm cool with it. I just have to make sure I take these reps as seriously as possible because they might be my only reps for some time."
Nassib knew that was the deal when the Giants drafted him in the fourth round. Playing behind Eli Manning has traditionally meant having Sundays off. Manning has started 135 consecutive regular-season games, the third longest streak for a quarterback in NFL history, behind Brett Favre (297) and Peyton Manning (208).
But Nassib does have a chance to bring himself one step closer to the regular-season field with a good showing against the Patriots. If he can prove that he can move the offense and organize the other 10 players in the huddle, he might make veteran backups David Carr and Curtis Painter expendable. The Giants haven't carried three quarterbacks on their roster since 2007, and they're probably hoping Nassib gives them a reason not to this year as well.
Nassib will be given every opportunity. He'll play with the second unit -- immediately after Manning completes his 12-15 snaps -- which means he'll be working with players who likely will be on the 53-man roster next week. His first two appearances in preseason games against the Steelers and Colts came in mop-up time with others like him who were just starting to understand the offense.
"I've been with them in practice," Nassib said of the second-stringers, "so I definitely have a little bit better feel with those guys than with some of the newer guys I've been in with in the past. I'm anxious and ready to get out there."
Nassib has completed three of his 10 preseason passes for 77 yards. He also was sacked four times, a stat that may be more attributable to the offensive linemen in front of him, some of whom have already been cut.
Tom Coughlin said he hopes to play all four quarterbacks in this final preseason game. Carr will follow Nassib and Painter will follow Carr.
"I'm definitely going to have to be ready to go a lot sooner as opposed to the last two or three games," said Nassib, who has had to wait until after halftime for his previous appearances. "My goals, going in [are] planning on executing, getting the ball out fast and trying to put some points on the board."
As for his first NFL preseason, Nassib believes he's progressed.
"I definitely got a better feel for the system and how to operate," he said. "Definitely nowhere near perfect, still have room to improve, but every day is a learning experience and every day you have to get better."
For Nassib, this may be the last day to do that in an actual game.
Notes & quotes: This will be the sixth time in his career Manning starts the fourth preseason game. He came off the bench behind Kurt Warner as a rookie in 2004 and did not play at all in 2005, '08 and '11 . . . LB Aaron Curry, a former No. 4 overall draft pick who was cut by the Giants last weekend, announced his retirement on Twitter on Wednesday. Curry had played with the Seahawks and Raiders . . . The Giants announced they will wear white pants for the first time since 1999 in two home games this season: Nov. 10 against the Raiders and Nov. 24 against the Cowboys.