Alex Tanney has played in only one regular-season game since entering the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2012. The New York Giants are Tanney’s eighth NFL team. With so little to go on in terms of on-field performance, what is it that has kept teams interested in having him around?
Let’s talk about Tanney as we continue profiling the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp in less than two weeks.
How he got here
Chiefs. Dallas Cowboys. Cleveland Browns. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tennesse Titans (twice). Buffalo Bills. Indianapolis Colts. Those are all the teams Tanney was part of before becoming a Giant last season. His longest stop was a three-year stint with the Titans, the final year of which was spent on IR after he suffered a broken foot.
Tanney, who played collegiately at Monmouth, told me last year that that he is grateful for his time in the NFL despite the lack of playing time.
“I didn’t really have the intention of, hey, I’m going to go on and play in the NFL. I was given an opportunity and it’s something I always wanted to do,” he said. “I’ve always loved the game, loved talking ball. I love being around it, I know I want to coach when I’m done. To be able to talk football all day, play football and get paid to play football is a dream come true and I hope I can keep doing it as long as I can.”
Regarding that question of why he keeps landing in NFL locker rooms despite the single game of playing experience, and at this point in his career the lack of real upside. Here is what he told me last August:
“I learned very early on in my career to not look at the roster or the depth chart or where you stand in line. I’ve been a bubble guy and a journeyman my whole career. If I can contribute anything in that quarterback room I try,” Tanney said.
“I don’t have a lot of playing experience but I have a lot of experience with different systems and different coordinators. I’ve seen a lot of film. The biggest thing is taking what we talk about in the meeting room and translating it to the practice field and showing the coaches that I can go out there and operate in the system and have success.”
The Giants have four quarterbacks on the roster not counting hybrid tight end/quarterback Eric Dungey, who did not play quarterback at all after rookie mini-camp. They are not keeping four quarterbacks on the roster, and it’s clear that two spots are going to starter Eli Manning and sixth overall pick Daniel Jones.
That leaves Tanney competing with second-year man Kyle Lauletta for the No. 3 spot. If the decision were based purely on what we saw in the spring it would be an easy one. Tanney would be in and Lauletta would be out.
Tanney took far more reps than Lauletta as the latter was brought along slowly following offseason knee surgery. Tanney also threw the ball better than Lauletta in the reps he did receive, making a number of highlight throws during practices witnessed by media.
Thing is, the decision won’t be based purely on the spring. Lauletta’s training camp and preseason performance, and whether or not the Giants believe he can be a long-term backup will have to be weighed against the experience and intangibles Tanney can offer, including helping Jones learn to be an NFL quarterback.
The guess here is that Tanney should be considered the favorite in his competition with Lauletta entering camp.