EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Davis Webb was excited to play in his first NFL game in almost a year – perhaps a bit too excited.
The Giants’ second-year backup quarterback played seven series in relief of Eli Manning and completed nine of 22 passes for just 70 yards in Thursday night’s 20-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns in the preseason opener in MetLife Stadium.
Several Webb passes were too high for the intended receiver to catch.
“Davis gets a little amped up at times and that’s what causes the ball to sail a little bit,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “But he had his moments. He had some good plays in there.”
“I need to put it on the guy’s chinstrap,” Webb said. “That’s what I want to do, that’s what I need to do. Yeah, I missed far too many. But at the same time I’m going to get better from it. I’m not too worried about it. I’m going to learn from it and get better for next week.”
The Giants return to action next Friday against the Lions in Detroit.
Webb had not played since Aug. 31, 2017, in the preseason finale in New England. He saw no game action in the 2017 regular season.
Webb’s first pass was a two-yard completion to Sterling Shepard, but it was nullified by an illegal formation penalty. He then threw six consecutive incompletions before connecting with running back Wayne Gallman for a 13-yard gain. In the first half, Webb hit eight of 20 passes and the Giants punted on four of his five possessions; time expired on the fifth.
Shurmur spoke to Webb at halftime.
“I just tried to settle him down, that’s all,” Shurmur said. “Like I said, he had moments out there that were pretty good, so we’ve just got to go back. He’s no different than anybody else, he has to go back and clean up those plays that there were mistakes on.”
He’ll get no dissent from Webb, a maniacal worker who all but lives at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center during the season. What advice did Webb get from some of his teammates?
“Just kind of calm down and play,” Webb said. “Guys know I can do it, there’s no doubt about that. I showed signs of it tonight, throwing check downs. They did a good job over there playing two deep, keeping everything in front of them. A few times I was close, I forced a few but I was a foot off for barely missing. At the same time if I make those throws we extend drives and get better chances of getting points on the board.”
First-year running back Jalen Simmons did score on a five-yard touchdown run on the Giants’ final Webb possession. But Webb didn’t throw a pass on three-play drive, which covered only 14 yards after Zak DeOssie recovered a Cleveland fumbled punt.
That brief success certainly didn’t change Webb’s thinking on what he must do next.
“The biggest thing right now is going to the film room with coach Shurmur and coach (Mike) Shula (the offensive coordinator) and kind of learn from my mistakes. It’s the first preseason game, I’m going to get better from it. This isn’t going to be the last time playing, so I got another opportunity next week in Detroit, go against them every day in practice and going to be a good opportunity for our team to go against someone new on defense. Looking forward to it.”
*Odell Beckham was the only Giants starter who did not play in the game.
“I want to be smart with his recovery coming back, and I never intended to play him in this game,” Shurmur said. “I didn’t reveal that to you (reporters), but I never intended to.
“He is coming back from injury (fractured ankle and surgery). I want to be smart with him, and I never intended to play him in this game.”
*Manning completed four of seven passes for 26 yards and was sacked once in his two series.
“I think it’s always great to be back out there, get on the field, going against a new opponent,” Manning said. “I think after the first game you see a lot about things you need to improve on. There’s things guys need to settle down and get comfortable with everything, but I thought there were some good things, got a scoring drive, but definitely after watching, I think you can see a lot of things we need to improve on.”
*Gallman led the Giants with four receptions for 33 yards…Safety Andrew Adams led the team with seven tackles (six solo)…Robert Thomas had the Giants’ only sack, taking down Baker Mayfield for an 11-yard loss…Darian Thompson started at free safety next to Landon Collins.
*The Giants lost despite having zero turnovers and 108 fewer penalty yards (141-33).
*Six Giants players did not suit up because of injury: wide receiver Travis Rudolph (quad), defensive backs William Gay (hamstring), Curtis Riley (hamstring), and Donte Deayon (hamstring), tight end Ryan O’Malley (ankle), and linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring).
*The Giants’ captains were Eli Manning, Olivier Vernon and Zak DeOssie.
*The Giants’ preseason series with the Browns, which began in 1970, is now tied, 9-9.
*Former Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks watched the game from the Giants’ bench area.
*The Giants are 36-30-3 in preseason openers since 1950.
*The Giants open the regular season vs. Jacksonville in one month.