As we continue our series of player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the New York Giants will bring to training camp on July 21 we have arrived at one of the most watched, and hotly-debated, players on the roster. It is time to discuss Ryan Nassib, the second-year backup quarterback.
2013 Season In Review
There is nothing to tell here. After the Giants traded up to draft the former Syracuse University star in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, he struggled in training camp and the preseason, was the Giants' No. 3 quarterback all season, and was never activated for a game. You can argue about why, or whether that should have been the case, but that was Nassib's season. End of story.
It is brutally obvious for anyone paying attention that the Giants want Nassib to surpass Curtis Painter and win the backup job behind Eli Manning. In 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills during OTAs and mini-camps Nassib took nearly all of the second- and third-team reps while Painter largely twiddled his thumbs and took 'mental' reps.
What did Nassib show in all of those reps? Quite honestly, that he is still a work in progress. From what observers could see, Nassib showed a grasp of the new offense being installed by Ben McAdoo, but like it was last season under then-offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride it is his ability to execute once the ball is snapped that remains uncertain. Nassib's accuracy and decision-making are the things he struggled with during offseason workouts, not his ability to line his teammates up.
"He can direct traffic out here," head coach Tom Coughlin said during OTAs. "We just need to get the execution where we need it to be."
Nassib said during OTAs that he feels like he is well ahead of where he was a year ago entering training camp:
"I think my progress from this offseason compared to last year is like night and day," Nassib said. "I didn't have to deal with the draft and all of those workouts and stuff like that like I had last year. Now all I have to do is focus in on what we have to do here."
Of that No. 2 spot behind Manning, Nassib said "that's the goal right now, to secure that backup spot."
If Nassib can do that it might allow the Giants the ability to keep only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, something they did for years when veteran David Carr was the backup to Manning. The additional roster spot would, of course, give the Giants the flexibility to keep an extra player at another position.
Asked about Nassib's progress, quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf echoed Coughlin's belief that it is execution, not understanding, that is holding the 24-year-old Nassib back:
"I think he's done a great job, especially in our no-huddle periods of just being able to get guys lined up, whether we're in a two-minute situation or whatever situation we've been in he's done a great job of just getting us in a correct formation, getting us lined up," Langsdorf said. "He's just got to keep working on executing, whether it's a throw or timing with the receivers, he's just got to continue to work with those guys but he's been very good to this point in terms of studying and learning."
Nassib has a complete training camp and five preseason games to convince the Giants he can execute well enough to dress on game days as Manning's backup. It is apparent they are hoping he can.