Conventional wisdom tells us that the New York Giants gave up on quarterback Davis Webb too quickly.
But that notion must quickly become water under the bridge for the 53 players who currently populate the New York Giants roster. Surely, over the past two seasons, some guys got to know Davis Webb well. But early September has a way of killing many an NFL dream, and this scenario represents the circle of life in the league.
As for the details, none of the other 31 NFL teams put in a waiver claim for Webb, so he became a free agent. That fact, above anything else, tells us what talent evaluators think of his game right now.
In the span of 48 hours, Webb were from heir-apparent to unemployed. Wrap your head around that turn of events, next time you have a bad day at work. Fortunately, he did find a landing spot and will have to begin rebuilding his NFL career on the New York Jets practice squad.
As for Big Blue, one area where new head coach Pat Shurmur demonstrates a vast improvement over former coach Ben McAdoo manifested itself with the Webb release, and the lack of drama that followed. While the assembled media wanted to focus on Webb’s draft status, Shurmur explained he was just simply doing his job.
Per the team’s official website:
"“Really, at some point, regardless of where you’re drafted, once you’re settled in as a player on the team, that kind of goes away. We’re all out here trying to earn a spot every day, players and coaches. So, at some point, whether you’re drafted in the third round or the fifth round, that sort of goes away at some point and you play it out.”"
At the end of the day, we are talking about the back-up quarterback position, and the New York Giants, and every other NFL team, certainly have bigger fish to fry than obsessing over their second string signal-caller. In fact, this very decision had its underpinnings with the nonsensical preseason battle between Josh Johnson and Geno Smith that occurred last summer.
By fretting over the back-up signal-caller, McAdoo ended up doing everyone a disservice, including incumbent Eli Manning, and especially Davis Webb. That “competition” robbed Webb of valuable snaps in 2017, since he became the fourth of four quarterbacks, one of whom was never going to be on the roster.
It’s the difference between having an action plan or simply going through the motions.
What we saw transpire over the past week became a seismic shift for the franchise though. The days of incremental improvement under McAdoo and ex-general manager Jerry Reese are gone. The New York Giants aren’t a Double A baseball team looking to develop talent for the big club. Two developmental quarterbacks were one too many, and if team brass has its say down the line, maybe two too many.
Others in the media thought this was a “message” transaction.
"“You get the feeling all the names are written in pencil and subject to change throughout the season if expectations aren’t met. That’s a good thing.”"
But the “message” may be more of the by-product of these events than anything else, and hopefully it caught the attention of the right players. Certainly, fear can be used as motivating factor, but this isn’t 1970 either. And, on the other hand, creating an atmosphere of fear doesn’t seem to be in the DNA of Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman.
They think bigger picture.
Overall, the franchise benefits from this paradigm shift, and a “message” was actually sent out to the NFL. The G-Men are on a path to win, and win now. No more Marcus of Queensberry rules for the New York Giants, while Bob Kraft, Jerry Jones and Stan Kroenke remain on a mission to bury every other squad.
Expect a fight from the New York Giants both on and off the field. Swapping out well liked Romeo Okwara for John Jenkins solidified this notion.
Don’t envision the culture becoming cutthroat, like jettisoning a player at the hotel the night before a Super Bowl. But do expect some pushback from team brass, where no pushback had be seen before. Trades, drafting and waiver wire pick-ups, all with the specific intent to become better than next week’s opponent.
Hopefully, draft picks like Ereck Flowers, who was taken ninth as a developmental project, go the way of the dodo bird. Back when Flowers was selected, even old school coach Tom Coughlin opined that high draft picks should contribute immediately. Notice we didn’t say play right away, but rather contribute. Put cornerback Eli Apple in the same category. Drafted players with guaranteed contracts, won’t get an endless apprenticeship anymore.
That’s more sensible than shocking, but sensible doesn’t sell newspapers or apps.
As such, the league will now have to give more than cursory rear view mirror glance as to what’s going on in East Rutherford. If the plan works, the New York Giants become a Super Bowl contender sooner rather than later. And mark down the day they cut Davis Webb as the impetus for that fifth Lombardi Trophy.