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QB Ryan Nassib embraces preseason opportunities

Posted Aug 10, 2016

QB Ryan Nassib is expected to see a lot of snaps during the Giants four preseason games: 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Ryan Nassib’s busy season begins Friday night.

The fourth-year backup quarterback is expected to get most of the snaps when the Giants host the Miami Dolphins in the preseason opener in MetLife Stadium. Nassib will likely get plenty of work in the three subsequent games before the regular-season opener in Dallas – where Eli Manning will make his 184th consecutive start.

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That’s how it’s been since Nassib arrived as a fourth-round draft choice in 2013; he plays in the preseason (when in the last two years he threw 177 passes to Manning’s 79) before moving to the sideline when the games count in the standings.

It will be no different this year in Ben McAdoo’s first season as head coach.

“I see preseason as my opportunity to show the Giants what I can do,” Nassib said this week. “Everything we do is a job interview. That’s almost the accumulation of where you can do it on paper, maybe you can do it in practice, but can you do it when the lights are on? That’s pretty much how I see the preseason. Just another part of the job interview for the Giants.”

He’s performed well in his August opportunities. In three preseasons, Nassib completed 105 of 196 passes (53.6 percent) for 1,313 yards, seven touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 86.5. Yes, he’s played against defenses staffed by players who were released at the end of the preseason, but he also threw to and was protected by such players.

Nassib has twice thrown five passes in a regular season game, most recently last Dec. 27 in a lopsided loss in Minnesota. He completed all five throws - to five different receivers – for 68 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown to Myles White. That gave Nassib a perfect 158.3 passer rating. On Oct. 12, 2014, Nassib hit four of five passes for 60 yards, with a long throw of 29 yards.

“Ryan has done a great job with taking advantage of the opportunities he has been given,” said first-year quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti.

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In training camp, Nassib has made several outstanding throws, most notably a perfectly-thrown bomb to rookie free agent Roger Lewis.

“Ryan continues to get better,” McAdoo said. “We have a lot of confidence in Ryan, can't wait to see him play Friday. He's going to play a lot of football for us. We know he can go out and run the system. He prepares each and every week like he's a starter, and helps Eli that way. We have a lot of confidence in him.”

But the only pertinent question about Nassib is whether he could enter a game, be productive and lead the Giants to victory should Manning ever get forced to the sideline. The Giants didn’t face that situation in Nassib’s first three seasons, but McAdoo has faith.

“If Ryan was ever forced to go in, we would pick up where Eli has left off,” McAdoo said. “We trust Ryan to go in and run the offense. We feel that we can put our players in a position to be successful. We feel that he can go in and do the job for us.”

“That’s the role that I’m competing for on this team,” Nassib said, “to be able to be that guy that if the starter goes down, to be able to step in and execute to a level that our team is expecting.”

Nassib is dueling for the backup position with Logan Thomas, who was awarded off waivers to the Giants on June 17 and has thrown as many regular-season passes (9) as Nassib has completed.

But in Nassib’s infrequent dialogue with reporters, the questions are less about the team’s other reserves and more about the player ahead of him and whether he is frustrated with so few opportunities to play in the regular season. Nassib has learned to sidestep those questions as he does rushing defensive linemen.   

“You just try and take it as a learning experience and take whatever you can from it,” he said. “Just be ready, because the opportunities to play in this league are few and far between. My position right now is just really preparing and keep working, so if an opportunity does come, I’ll be ready for it.”

Nassib could be at a career crossroads when the season ends and the four-year rookie contract expires and he becomes a free agent. But that is far from his thought process in training camp.

“I think I have to take care of what I need to take care of on the field, in the meeting room, and in the film room,” Nassib said. “That stuff will take care of itself and that’s something that’s not a focus right now.”