The New York Giants are working hard to forget the disastrous 2017 season. It was a year in which just about everything went wrong, and did so in the worst kind of way.
But for back-up quarterback Davis Webb, it might also be hard not to wonder about what might have been.
Everyone remembers the furor which rose up from the Giants’ fanbase when Ben McAdoo decided to bench Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith. It was a fateful decision to end Manning’s 210-game starting streak, and one which ultimately cost McAdoo his job. Part of the anger and frustration from fans wasn’t just that Manning was being benched, but that he was being benched for Geno Smith, and Webb.
After practice this past Tuesday, Webb finally confirmed to WFAN that the plan — such as it was — was that he would have gotten the chance to start.
“Yeah,” Webb said, “so when that day happened [when Manning was benched], when the public found out that Geno [Smith] was going to start that week against Oakland, later that night, around eight or nine o’clock, I was doing film breakdowns for Geno and Coach McAdoo walked in and said ‘Hey, The next three weeks, it’s you.’”
That moment would be a dream come true for any quarterback drafted in to the NFL — his chance to start on Sunday. And Webb says that he was excited, but the moment was
“I was ready to rock and roll,” Webb said, “I was excited. But at the same time, that was a really rough day because Eli has been the best teammate I’ve ever had, I was really hurting for him. Once everything went down in Oakland and we let go of some people, I was the first one to congratulate Eli when he started against Washington because I wanted him to win the last three games. I was pumped for him, and I know he was driven.”
It says something about Webb that while he was obviously excited for his chance to not only dress (which he had yet to do by that point) but also start and play, it was a bittersweet moment.
On the draft
The big question heading in to the 2018 NFL Draft was whether or not the Giants would draft a quarterback. It was widely believed that the new regime didn’t have enough information on him to risk passing on a quarterback at second overall, something of which Webb was aware.
“I didn’t really get a chance to show what I have on the game field,” Webb said. “And that was kind of the big question going in to the draft, ‘Davis hasn’t really played in a game.’ So, I’m excited for the preseason.”
So with the lack of tape on him, it didn’t surprise him that the Giants added not one, but two quarterbacks over the course of the 2018 offseason.
“No,” Webb wasn’t surprised. “My whole thought through the entire process was that they’re going to have to bring somebody in. Either a veteran, which we did in Alex Tanney, and he’s been a great quarterback so far in training camp, or we would draft one. I knew we would have to draft somebody, we only had two quarterbacks on the roster at that point. I wasn’t shocked and Kyle’s been a great teammate, working hard and asking the right questions.”
Raptor’s Thoughts: What might have been? It’s understandable if Webb looks back on the opportunity which was given then taken away in the span of a week with some quiet remorse. However, it might have worked out for the best for Webb. Thinking back to the state of the roster, scheme, and franchise as a whole in that last month of 2017, there isn’t much Webb could have shown.
Had Webb started, he would have gotten tossed into a broken offense with its best players either out or playing through injury, while trying to rally and lead a fractured and toxic locker room. It would have taken an absolutely prodigious performance by Webb to overcome all of that, and more likely the rookie out of Cal would have looked like a bust, and ditched by the new regime.
It is interesting here to finally have confirmation that Webb was in line to start after Eli Manning was benched. Both because the team had given no indication of the fact and because he had done little more than run the scout team in practice. Going forward Webb will have a much better chance to prove himself to the Giants.