Pat Shurmur knew the “why did you cut Davis Webb?” questions were coming during Monday’s media availability. After a brief introductory statement he took a deep breath and got down to business.
So, why veteran Alex Tanney and rookie Kyle Lauletta instead of Webb, the second-year man most had assumed was the No. 2 quarterback since he spent the spring and summer taking nearly all the second-team reps?
“I feel like they are better choices for us now,” Shurmur said.
“I think I mentioned long ago there was no depth chart behind Eli (Manning). We were trying to figure out who the guys playing quarterback were going to be behind Eli. He got a lot of reps, and I think it was probably that where people start to assume because he’s taking second string reps that he’s a second string quarterback, and it didn’t play out that way.”
Shurmur called Webb “a young player that competed hard.”
“There are so many things about him that are good,” Shurmur said. “He’s an outstanding worker, he cares about the game a great deal, and I’m hopeful he’s going to get another opportunity.”
So, why Lauletta and Tanney instead of Webb?
“I like the fact that he’ll decide what he’s looking at, see it and pull the trigger,” Shurmur said. “He’s very decisive in what he does. He’s a gamer of sorts and we’re looking forward to working with that.”
“I do like having a veteran presence in that group,” Shurmur said. “Here’s the thing with a veteran backup quarterback. They can go in and function with very few reps and I think that’s an attribute that I look for in a guy that could potentially be a backup to a guy like Eli, because they don’t get that many reps during the training sessions.”
Shurmur was asked if it hurts to cut players like Webb and Darian Thompson, who were recent third-round picks.
“Really, at some point, regardless of where you’re drafted, once you’re settled in as a player on the team, that kind of goes away. We’re all out here trying to earn a spot every day, players and coaches. So, at some point, whether you’re drafted in the third round or the fifth round, that sort of goes away at some point and you play it out,” Shurmur said.
Asked a second time about cutting a recent third-round pick, Shurmur reiterated his answer.
“Let’s forget for a minute he was a third round pick,” he said. “He was on our team as a Giant and we watched him go through what we do in training camp and what we do in practice and we made a decision to move on and go with the other guys. Let’s forget for a minute that he was a third round pick. I really do mean that. At some point, that all goes away.”
Kyle Lauletta: “I’m very ready” if I need to play
Shurmur did not commit to whether it will be the rookie Lauletta or the veteran Tanney who dresses as the No. 2 quarterback vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, saying only “we’ll see.”
Lauletta is confident he can succeed if called upon.
“I’m ready. I think I’m very ready and if my number were to ever get called, I think I would be ready to go and I’d be very, very excited to step in there and help the team win,” Lauletta said. “I have all the confidence in the world in myself and despite how I perform out on the field, I’m always going to carry that. Like I said, if indeed I do have to play this season at some point, then I’ll be ready to go, no doubt about that.”
Lauletta was also asked if he knew what it was about his play that impressed Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman.
“I don’t know, I think just doing what the coaches asked me to do - be a quick decision maker, be smart with the football, be accurate, let the guys get yards after the catch by throwing it accurately and just knowing where to go with the football,” Lauletta said. “There were some rough practices towards the end of camp and a couple games I wished I played a little bit better, but all in all I felt like I showed improvement throughout the whole camp and I was on the right track, and I think there’s a lot I can improve on and a lot I will improve on.
“Like I said, we have great coaches, especially coach Shurmur being an offensive guy. He’s been a great help to me and I think I can only keep getting better with him at the helm.”
Alex Tanney wasn’t following the quarterback drama
While everyone else obsessed over the Giants initially keeping four quarterbacks, then surprisingly cutting Davis Webb, Alex Tanney went about his business. He entered the league an an undrafted free agent in 2012, and this make it/don’t make it dance is old hat to him.
“I don’t follow any of that stuff for that reason right there. I wasn’t paying attention. I was just waiting by my phone and if I was going to hear anything, I wanted to hear it from those guys (coaches),” Tanney said.
“I just tried to take my mind off it. I tried to play some golf. I’m used to this experience, it’s something I’ve been through quite a few times. Most times I try to hang out with my wife, but she wasn’t up here. I just tried to keep myself busy.”
Tanney’s family is back in Tennessee.
Will Tanney be the second or third quarterback? He isn’t speculating about that, either.
“I’m just going to keep preparing the way I’ve always prepared throughout my entire career, that’s like I’m going to play, and that decision is ultimately up to the coaches,” he said.