EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The first pass Davis Webb ever threw in an organized football game did not hit its intended target.
"Keller Middle School (in Pasadena, Texas) in the seventh grade," Webb said this week. "It was a touchdown for the other team. I was driving home with my dad after the game, and I said, 'Hopefully, it gets easier than this.' He said, 'That's how you learn.'
"That was the first one I ever played and it was a bad one, but I got better from that. … I've had plenty of bad games in my life. Quarterbacks sometimes play really good, sometimes they play really bad. It's a part of football, you are never your best each and every day. But you want to strive for perfection and that's what I'm doing. I was hard on myself, but I understood that I had another opportunity coming."
Those quotes accurately summarize Webb's month. He struggled in the Giants' preseason-opening loss to Cleveland, completing only nine of 22 passes. But he rebounded the following week when he started in Detroit and hit 14 of 20 throws for 140 yards, including an eight-yard touchdown, in a victory against the Lions. Webb played three series last week vs. the Jets and completed five of 11 passes, including a 47-yarder to Alonzo Russell.
And yes, he has another opportunity coming. The Giants tomorrow night will face the New England Patriots in their preseason finale for the 14th consecutive year. Coach Pat Shurmur won't say whether his starters will play, but few NFL front line players see the field in the last tuneup before the regular season. Eli Manning hasn't played in this game since 2014, when he participated in two series and threw four passes.
So Webb, the team's top backup throughout the spring and summer, and rookie Kyle Lauletta are expected to receive the bulk of the playing time vs. the Pats.
"I know I'm going to get a chance to play and I'm looking forward to it," Webb said. "It's the last preseason game, another great opportunity for this team and myself."
He will do so knowing it could be his final game action for a while if Manning remains healthy.
Asked about his mindset regarding that, he said, "Just work hard and keep a level head. Try to be consistent as you can be and be ready when your number is called."
Shurmur was asked essentially the same question – What do you want to see from Davis as this may be the last time he plays for a while? – and gave a similarly vague response.
"We'll see as we get ready to play the game," Shurmur said. "I think anybody that goes in there, we want to see them play good football. I think that's the most important thing. On the short horizon here, we want the players to go in and play good winning football against New England and that's what we're looking for from all the players."
It was in this game last year that Webb, then a rookie, made his first professional splash against the Patriots in Foxborough. On the final drive of the game, he completed four of six passes on a 45-yard drive that set up Aldrick Rosas' game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expired. It was his last game action until the Giants played Cleveland earlier this month.
"I watched it this week to go over some stuff from a year ago, what they did defensively this year compared to last year," Webb said. "I watched it again, so that was fun. Just having a two-minute drive, not having many reps in practice, nor in preseason games. Just having a chance to win the game with your teammates and Jon (Halapio) at center and have some fun. I remember it very, very well, it was fun."
He will enter the game tomorrow night hoping to make a similar impact while also demonstrating improvement in specific areas from the first three games.
"I think there are a couple things, he said. "Be more consistent passing the football, finding completions and continue to get better. I think I have taken a lot of steps each and every week, especially since the first game, the second game, to the third game. Now it's the fourth game and I should play my best so far. I'm looking forward to it."