To play Davis Webb or not to play Davis Webb. While we wait for the truly important decisions the New York Giants franchise has to make at general manager and head coach, the Webb question is the short-term one that many in the media and the fan base seem fixated on.
So, let’s discuss.
Let’s get this out of the way right now. I don’t want to hear about whatever plan Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese apparently hatched and co-owner John Mara supposedly signed off on to ensure that Webb got some playing time the rest of the season. The coach and GM who apparently created that plan no longer work for the Giants, and they took whatever plans they had out the door when their key cards were deactivated. Those plans no longer matter.
All Mara said when he relieved McAdoo and Reese of their duties was “I’m hopeful that at some point he (Webb) gets into the game, but right now, to be honest with you, after all this losing I’m just as focused on trying to win some of these games as anything else.”
If ownership isn’t demanding playing time for the rookie quarterback, then you certainly can’t be mad at interim coach Steve Spagnuolo if it doesn’t happen. Or, doesn’t happen to your satisfaction.
Before he was asked to become interim head coach last week, Spagnuolo had spent nearly three full seasons as defensive coordinator. Until last week when he had to figure out who the starting quarterback would be against the Dallas Cowboys, Spagnuolo probably hadn’t spent five minutes thinking about the Giants’ offense.
With everyone swirling around the Giants, Spags right now is a bit like a guy swimming against the current in a fast-moving stream. He has all he can do keep his head above water. He is just trying to get the Giants through each day, each game, with some dignity and some sense of being competitive.
You can’t hold him to someone else’s plan for the third-string quarterback. Or, really, even expect him to be well-versed in said plan. If there was one.
“Anything prior to (becoming head coach), I was not privy to at all. I don’t hear it,” Spagnuolo said this week. “It keeps coming back to me like that, but I can tell you this, the way that I’m going to function, the way that I think we should function is to take this one week at a time with the goal being beating the next opponent and whatever is best to do that, in my opinion.”
It’s obvious Webb won’t be ready this week. That’s on McAdoo and quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti, for not having given him the work during the season that would alllow him to to ready. The last two games? Who knows at this point?
Should Webb play?
When McAdoo and Reese were still in place I was among those who was in favor of getting Webb a decent amount of snaps over the final couple of games. With a top five pick coming in the 2018 NFL Draft and a need to identify an heir to Eli Manning, it only made sense for the decision-makers to get a live look at the young quarterback they had already drafted, even a limited one, before going to the draft using a first-round pick on another QB.
Now, I have to answer the “should Webb play?” question with another question. Does it matter?
In my view, at this point it really doesn’t.
Would it be nice for him to get a little experience in real game? Sure. Even Manning admitted this week that the best way to learn is to play.
That doesn’t mean that getting Webb playing time now is, under the current circumstances, important to the organization’s future. That idea left the building with the former coach and GM.
Could Webb be the Giants’ quarterback of the future? Sure. The remainder of this season, though, isn’t going to have anything to do with that decision.
It’s highly unlikely Kevin Abrams and Spagnuolo, the interim GM and coach, will maintain those jobs beyond the end of this season. That means the decision-makers are not in place. The new GM and coach will have their own ideas about that. Anyone who interviews for the GM job will have a quarterback plan. A GM candidate will have already done extensive work in studying Manning, the 2018 quarterback class, and Webb. A new coach will also have his own input.
It would be kinda fun to see Webb get some snaps over the last couple of games. There aren’t many other reasons to watch Giants’ games at this point. Then again, how much of a real read could a bit of playing time at this point — with what might be the worst offense in Giants’ history — would we be able to get on Webb? I have said all season that, because of what he is working with, it’s hard to get a true read on what Manning is at this point. Could we really get one on Webb at this point?
I get it. Webb is like a shiny new toy everyone wants to unwrap and see what it can do. Everybody loves the backup quarterback — until they actually see the backup quarterback.
I’m curious, too. I just don’t believe that anything Webb does, or doesn’t do, over the final couple of weeks of this disastrous season impact the Giants’ future one way or another.
At this point, it’s a lot of talk, a lot of arguing, a lot of Internet bandwidth wasted over something that really isn’t going to make much difference.