Davis Webb. Bring up his name and it automatically fires up a polarized New York Giants fan base. Do the Giants need to draft a quarterback or can he be the guy who replaces Eli Manning? Why didn’t he play a single snap last season? Did former GM Jerry Reese waste yet another third-round pick? Will Webb get shoved aside by the new regime of GM Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur?
When it comes to the 2016 third-round pick there are questions. Lots of them. As we sit here at the end of February — before free agency, the 2018 NFL Draft, OTAs mini-camps, and training camp — there are no answers.
Former NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels joined the ‘Locked on Giants’ podcast on Thursday. Webb, of course, was one of the topics that came up during Rosenfels’ discussion with Pat Traina and yours truly.
Rosenfels called Webb a “big mystery” entering the 2018 season and indicated that before having a chance to be the team’s quarterback of the future Webb will have to prove to Gettleman and Shurmur that he belongs on the roster to begin with.
“I’ve seen his situation time and time again in the NFL. A rookie drafted, basically doesn’t play, the coach gets fired and a new head coach comes in. A lot of times those players end up getting released. He’s not Pat Shurmur’s guy,” Rosenfels said.
“Pat Shurmur’s going to go through the offseason. He’s going to evaluate him very, very closely. I’m sure he’s evaluating him right now, probably going back and watching a lot of practice film from this past year.
“We shall see what happens with him. There’s not a lot of loyalty in the NFL, in particular when a new head coach comes in who might have other quarterbacks that he’s interested in.”
Gettleman and Shurmur have both admitted knowing little about Webb when they were hired. ESPN reported recently that Webb now met with both the new GM and new head coach, and had the opportunity to plead his case.
“I had a conversation with Mr. Gettleman and kind of told him how I felt and my abilities as a quarterback,” Webb said last week after a throwing session with a group of college players preparing for the draft. “I think there are enough people around the facility that believe in me and believe in my work ethic and believe in my ability to play quarterback one day for this franchise.
“I want them to know that I’m here to be the best teammate possible and work very hard. I know we have a high pick in the draft. But nobody really knows but two people -- that is coach Shurmur and Mr. Gettleman. So there can be a lot of guessing and stuff like that.”
ESPN also noted that Webb works out daily at the Giants’ facility — as does Manning. Rules don’t permit him to go outside and throw or to study film and discuss the playbook with coaches, but the regular work does allow the coaching staff to see that Webb takes his craft seriously.
There was a stir in the fan base recently when Webb posted some Instagram videos of a throwing session with Giants’ tight end Evan Engram.
It was nice to see Webb throwing, but Shurmur and Gettleman aren’t going to learn anything about Webb’s viability as an NFL quarterback from a handful of scripted throws in shorts with no defenders. It was just two NFL guys working on their craft, getting outside on a beautiful day and having a catch.
No matter what happens in free agency and the draft you have to figure Webb will get the spring and summer to try and convince the Giants’ new regime that he should be part of the team’s future.
“Obviously the kid has talent. He wouldn’t have been drafted in the top half of the draft if he didn’t have talent. But he didn’t play last year. Very, very surprised, even in the game where Eli didn’t start. You’d think you’d want to see Davis Webb, the rookie, but the Giants didn’t do that last year,” Rosenfels said.
“He’s a big mystery. Those offseason workouts, those OTAs, those throwing sessions, those are going to be absolutely huge for him to prove to Pat Shurmur that he’s a quality NFL quarterback if he wants to be on the Giants next year.”