The Giants have their starting quarterback position locked up, but behind Eli Manning there is still some question marks. The back up quarterback is something you have to have that you hope is never needed. It’s kind of like car insurance, you need it but making a claim means something bad has happened. Let’s examine the Giants back up quarterback situation just in case they need it.
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The easy answer is that Ryan Nassib will be the back up quarterback. Nassib has been with the Giants since 2013, since the Giants invested a fourth round pick in him. We have gotten minor glimpses of Nassib in action and he hasn’t disappointed in the small sample size. He is 4-5 for 60 yards as a passer for the Giants.
Nassib is still very much an unknown commodity. He has the athletic tools for the job, but he doesn’t have the experience. I’ve never really been a big believer in Nassib in the NFL. He was a star at Syracuse (which doesn’t hurt his popularity with New York fans) but I never projected him as a star in the NFL.
Nassib relied heavily on his mobility at Syracuse but in the NFL he is just another athlete. He was also a streaky passer with inconsistent accuracy. It’s not like you need your back up quarterback to be great though. The question becomes if Manning goes down for a few games, can the Giants win a game or two with Nassib?
The Giants brought in Ricky Stanzi to compete with Nassib to be Manning’s understudy. Stanzi has been trying to make it in the NFL since he was drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. So far he has made it on some practice squads but hasn’t gotten his chance to even be a back up.
I remember watching Stanzi play at Iowa. He was a decent quarterback but nothing special. He is probably comparable to Nassib in talent. The difference between Nassib and Stanzi is that Syracuse relied completely on Nassib to make plays.
Stanzi played in a pro-style offense in which the running game was the main feature and he was simply asked to manage the game. Though Stanzi’s role did increase in his three seasons as a starter at Iowa. He went from 254 attempts in his sophomore season to 345 passing attempts in his senior year.
At the end of the day Nassib was the Giants fourth round pick in 2013 and he is a very cheap option at the back up position. Stanzi could make it interesting with a strong preseason, but Stanzi is most likely destined for the practice squad.
With Manning’s track record of being the Giants iron man the Giants cannot really insist that they must keep three quarterbacks on the active roster. That extra roster spot could be very useful for a team that needs so many things.