EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The appearance of Eli Manning on the New York Giants' pre-practice injury report Wednesday caused a minor tizzy, before Giants coach Tom Coughlin and Manning both dismissed it as a non-issue.
Manning will make his 165th consecutive regular-season start Sunday, barring something totally unforeseen happening the rest of the week.
But, for a brief moment, Giants fans and followers were left with the thought of seeing Ryan Nassib at quarterback against the Washington Redskins. After a full year on the bench as a rookie, Nassib has briefly appeared in four games this season, but has thrown just five passes -- completing four, for 60 yards.
With the 4-9 Giants' playoff hopes long since extinguished, some people might be thinking, why not put Nassib out there in these final three games and see what he can do?
But Coughlin is not one of those people.
"We are trying to win games, not that Ryan couldn't help us in that capacity," Coughlin said. "For us, it's win, win as many games as we can."
You can't blame Coughlin for thinking that way -- after all, his job is on the line. Three more wins, against the Redskins, St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles may not help his cause, but three more losses and a 4-12 final record certainly could.
Manning certainly gives the Giants their best chance to win. He wants to play, and if he's OK physically, he deserves to.
But Coughlin did have some nice things to say about Nassib.
"Ryan's had extensive work on the practice field," the coach said. "He’s done an outstanding job with the scout team. He has shown the ability to do a lot of different things, some different from Eli. He’s making good progress."
Nassib did get a few first-team reps in practice Wednesday, but both he and Manning indicated that was normal -- especially given the Giants are facing an opponent for the second time this season.
Nassib didn't even know Manning was on the injury report until reporters informed him. "Eli’s a tough cat," he said. "He’s been like that his whole career. He does a good job of taking care of his body and stuff like that. So I know there’s no doubt he’ll be ready to go."
It was a long time ago now, but Nassib was impressive in the preseason. He had a quarterback rating of 126.7 or better in three of the Giants' five games. He completed 44 of 74 passes (59.5 percent) for 588 yards -- and most importantly, he threw five touchdown passes with zero interceptions.
Nassib said his confidence has grown this season.
"Seeing the games live and watching the players in the system definitely has helped," he said. "Getting a better idea of what players are good at what, and what plays we do best."
But don't expect him to make any more plays until 2015 -- unless Manning takes a shot he can't get up from.