All preseason, the thought of 2017 third-round choice Davis Webb backing up Eli Manning seemed obvious. The Giants didn't draft a quarterback in the first round this season. Instead, they picked up Kyle Lauletta out of Richmond in the fourth round. Then, it was journeyman Alex Tanney that joined the team at the start of camp.
But this looked to be Webb's job to lose. Well, he did.
The Giants' biggest shock was letting Webb go during their cuts to make the 53-man roster. Lauletta and Tanney are now Manning's backups, something experts and fans alike didn't see coming.
Head coach Pat Shurmur addressed the Webb situation for the first time since the surprising release, and he noted that there was no specific moment where his mind changed on Webb. He also gave a quick lesson to reporters: Just because a player is taking second-team reps, doesn't mean he is ultimately going to be named a backup.
"There's no reason for me to talk about when," Shurmur said on Monday after practice. "He was taking second teams reps. I think I mentioned long ago there was no depth chart behind Eli. 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."
Webb came into camp with an abundance of confidence, a personality trait that wasn't in the spotlight his rookie season. But in Week 1 of the preseason, he said he was too amped up which turned into bad results. Week 2 was much smoother, as he had a much better game against the Lions in Detroit.
Even through Webb showed improvement then up until the final preseason game, Shurmur said there were loads of opportunities for him to assess Webb among the backup quarterbacks.
"Keep in mind Detroit pratices, our practices here, we had a lot of opportunity to watch all the players compete," he explained. "It would be just like me talking in detail about why we didn't keep the other 39 guys or what not. It is what it is."
So Webb's tenure as a Giant ended before it truly began. But, as any good head coach would say, Shurmur wishes nothing but the best for Webb.
"There are so many things about him that are good, he's an outstanding worker, he cares about the game a great deal, and I'm hopeful he's going to get another opportunity," he said.
Shurmur wouldn't officially name Manning's backup, as both Lauletta and Tanney will continue to fight for that role. There is a plan in place, though, no matter its clarity to the public at the moment.
"At this point, we do right now. It's just not what everybody outside our building had predicted the plan was, and I think that's where all the questions are stemming from. But we made a decision that we're going to go with Alex and we're going to go with Kyle as Eli's backups, so we move forward."