MANALAPAN, N.J. -- The New York Giants have a new coach and general manager. What that means for quarterback Davis Webb nobody really knows, not even the young quarterback.
Webb was a third-round pick under general manager Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo, who were both fired in December. With the way the season unfolded, Webb never got an opportunity to play late in the season.
Now, there are new decision makers who weren’t part of the process to draft him 87th overall out of California last year. General manager Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur admitted upon their arrival they knew only so much about the potential successor to Eli Manning.
A month or so into the new regime, Webb has met with Shurmur several times and come away thinking he’s a great communicator. He’s also had the opportunity to talk with Gettleman and state his case to be the Giants' next quarterback, when they move on from Manning.
“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.”
The Giants select No. 2 overall in this year’s draft. They have an opportunity, if they so desire, to select a successor to the 37-year-old Manning. Or they could see what they have with the 23-year-old Webb, who did nothing but impress during his rookie season with his attitude and work ethic.
Their message to Webb has been vague but encouraging.
“Just continue to work. Nobody knows what is going to happen,” Webb said. “It’s still a long ways away. It doesn’t really bother me either way. I’m going to compete. I’m looking forward to this season. I’m working really hard. I’m staying in shape, and this is the most driven and excited I’ve been in any offseason, I think, in my career of football.”
Webb continues to go about his business as usual. That means working out every morning at the Giants' facility alongside Manning. And he began throwing last week. The two Giants quarterbacks compete (as much as the rules permit) in the weight room and eat lunch together on a daily basis.
The young quarterback isn’t worrying about what happens in the draft or elsewhere. He’s committed to what he can control.
“I’m preparing myself for whenever my opportunity comes,” Webb said. “I get to work out with Eli Manning and NFL guys daily, couldn’t ask for anything more. I am working just for whenever an opportunity arrives. I am ready to play and play well.”
When the Giants and Webb do get on the field, it will be with a new playbook. Webb and Manning are going to have to learn a new offense under Shurmur. The other quarterback on the roster last season, Geno Smith, is a free agent.
Webb is excited about the possibilities. He watched as Case Keenum and the Vikings had success this past season in Shurmur's offense, after Sam Bradford played well the year prior.
With the NFL rules not allowing Webb to get his hands on the new playbook just yet, he’s done what he can.
“You’re not really allowed to watch film. So you go on YouTube like everybody else does,” said Webb, who also said he might eventually reach out to Keenum, whom he knows through college coaches Kliff Kingsbury and Jake Spavital. “I’ve watched a lot of games kind of on Youtube, some interviews. I know [Shurmur] coached with Chip Kelly and Andy Reid. So kind of talk to guys who have been in that system.
“I just plan on doing a lot more research the next few weeks on my own because you can’t do much in the NFL offseason with all the rules.”
In the meantime, Webb is working on his conditioning and concentrating on the footwork that was the focus of former Giants quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti. Webb has put an emphasis on escapability, especially after seeing the way Nick Foles, Tom Brady and Keenum navigated the pocket throughout the postseason.
“You have to practice it,” he said. “I’m a natural pocket passer. I can run around. I ran a 4.7 [in the 40-yard dash], so I’m not slow. But I have to work on moving in the pocket and being more mobile than anything. I put more work in it than most guys do, that is for sure. [Former personal quarterback coach] Jim Zorn put that in me. I take it to heart because it has really helped me in practice this year and hopefully it translates into 2018.”