Ben McAdoo confirmed that third round selection Davis Webb will play in Friday’s exhibition against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
EAST RUTHERFORD-If you’re going to Friday night’s exhibition tilt between the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers, leave your Eli Manning jersey at home. Instead, break out your Kerry Collins jersey, a sharpie and a roll of duct tape.
Giants head coach Ben McAdoo confirmed that Davis Webb, the Giants’ third-round selection in April’s draft, will play in Friday’s preseason opener at MetLife Stadium (7:00 PM, WNBC).
McAdoo was asked if Webb had enough preparation to play on Friday and simply replied “yes.” Pressed if he will indeed get in, McAdoo provided the same single word answer.
McAdoo’s announcement comes after Webb took reps during situational team drills during Wednesday afternoon’s practice. Given just under two minutes and two timeouts to work with, Webb kept the drive alive with a scrambling fourth down pass to undrafted rookie wide receiver Jerome Lane. However, the drive was turned over on downs when defensive end Jordan Williams knocked Webb’s pass on another fourth down. Despite the unfavorable result, McAdoo gave the rookie a positive review.
“He did a nice job,” McAdoo said. “It was a tough situation to come in, two-minute drill there. We needed a field goal to tie, a touchdown to win, came up short, but it was a good, productive drill.”
Webb — who is expected take on a bit of a learner’s role in his rookie year — has mostly taken on observational position while Manning, Geno Smith and Josh Johnson take the reps during team drills.
Just don’t tell that to Webb.
“I’ve gotten every rep this entire training camp,” Webb explained. “Mentally I’ve been tuned in, I’ve been asking questions in meetings, I’m watching the play progress and going through my reads back there. I might not be throwing it, but mentally I’m throwing it. So, mentally I feel sharp. Physically, it was my first time today in a team setting, but I feel good. I feel ready to go, and once my chance comes, I’ll be ready to go and that’s Friday night.”
With his selection in the third round, Webb, who threw for Texas Tech and Cal-Berkeley in college, is the highest quarterback selection the Giants have made since 2004, when they took Phillip Rivers with the fourth overall pick. Minutes later, they would trade Rivers to the San Diego Chargers for Manning, who has made 211 consecutive starts for the Giants. Having turned 36 in January, Manning said back in June that he foresaw the Giants thinking of his potential heir sooner or later.
“Once they drafted him, (there’s) nothing to say different than drafting a defensive lineman or a linebacker I’d say, so I’m fine,” Manning said. “We drafted a quarterback four years ago with Ryan Nassib, so I understand they have to draft a quarterback and they have to draft players on the board who are going to help out down the road.”
In regards to the rest of Friday’s lineup, McAdoo played coy, insisting, “we’re going to treat it very similarly to the way we treated (the first preseason game) last year.” While the likes of Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t play in last year’s first preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, starters Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon and Jonathan Casillas did.
For Manning, it was a stark contrast from the Tom Coughlin era, where he would routinely play into the second quarter of summer exhibitions. The New York mainstay, who also sat out the preseason finale against New England last season, was non-committal about his availability when he spoke on Monday.
“Did he tell you all anything? He said it’s up to me? Alright, we’ll see. I’ll go play,” he said with a laugh before adding, “I don’t know. We haven’t had that conversation yet, so I’m sure he’ll let me know in the next couple of days what the plan is. So, we’ll go from there.”
McAdoo also did not mention who would start under center in Friday’s game. In a depth chart released earlier this week, Johnson was listed as the second quarterback behind Manning.
On the other side, the Steelers have a similar situation at quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger, Manning’s fellow two-time Super Bowl winner and 2004 draftee, will not play on Friday night. Instead, their fourth round selection Josh Dobbs will get the nod, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.