EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Short-staffed in the secondary and perhaps at quarterback, the Giants today added to their roster three defensive backs and two passers - including one who plays multiple positions – as they made final preparations for their game tomorrow night against the Cleveland Browns in MetLife Stadium.
First, the defensive players: Adrian Colbert was activated off injured reserve and Jarren Williams and Quincy Wilson were standard elevations from the practice squad.
On offense, quarterback Clayton Thorson was activated from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement for cornerback James Bradberry, who was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday. And Joe Webb – a quarterback who can also catch passes and contribute on special teams – was signed to the roster off the practice squad.
The Giants had one roster opening and created another by waiving defensive back Montre Hartage.
The Giants needed reinforcements in the back of the defense. Bradberry, the team's top cornerback, cannot return to the team until Monday at the earliest. He leads the Giants with three interceptions and is tied for the NFL lead with 17 passes defensed. Rookie nickel corner Darnay Holmes will miss his second straight game with a knee injury, Brandon Williams was released this week, and Madre Harper is on injured reserve with a knee injury. Second-round draft Xavier McKinney and second-year pro Julian Love played in the slot for Homes last week.
In addition to the corners added today, the Giants have Isaac Yiadom, who did not miss a snap in the last six games, and safeties Logan Ryan and Love, who have extensive experience playing cornerback in the NFL and at Notre Dame, respectively.
"It's the next man up," safety Jabrill Peppers said yesterday. "Whoever's out there is going to be prepared. We have the utmost faith in Julian. He's been getting reps at corner for quite a while this year for just in case. That's what he did in college. He was a Jim Thorpe finalist for a reason. He's a sure tackler out there, and we know he's going to compete. It sucks losing James, but next man up."
Colbert has been on injured reserve since Nov. 3. He has not played since Oct. 11 in Dallas, where he made his second consecutive start. In three games this season, Colbert had 10 tackles (seven solo), including one for loss. He was awarded off waivers to the Giants on Sept. 6, one day after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Williams, 5-10 and 187 pounds, played 10 special teams snaps and had one tackle in his NFL debut last week vs Arizona. The following day, he reverted to the practice squad where he has spent the majority of the season. The University at Albany product was signed on Aug. 2, waived on Sept. 5 and joined the practice squad the following day.
Wilson, 6-2 and 193 pounds, was signed to the practice squad on Nov. 16, nine days after he was released by the Jets. He has played in 32 regular-season games with 11 starts and had 61 tackles (49 solo), two interceptions and eight passes defensed. Wilson also had seven tackles (five solo) in two postseason games with the 2018 Indianapolis Colts. He was selected by the Colts from the University of Florida in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. This season, he started one of the three games in which he played for the Jets and had one tackle.
Thorson was elevated off the practice squad two weeks ago, when he was the Giants' backup quarterback for their victory in Seattle. Colt McCoy played that entire game for Daniel Jones, who was inactive with a hamstring injury. Jones, who now also has an ankle injury, is questionable for the game tomorrow night.
Webb, 34, has played in 102 regular-season games with four starts and in eight postseason games with one start for Minnesota, Carolina, Buffalo and Houston. His most recent regular-season game was Dec. 30, 2018, when he played 22 special teams snaps for the Texans vs. Jacksonville. A week later, he participated in 15 special teams plays in Houston's AFC Wild Card loss to Indianapolis.
Webb was a 2010 sixth-round draft choice by the Vikings, from Alabama-Birmingham. In the regular season, he has completed 90 of 159 passes (56.6%) for 888 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions; rushed for 326 yards and four touchdowns on 50 carries, the longest a 65-yarder; caught 10 passes for 74 yards; and averaged 22.3 yards on 18 kickoff returns, the longest a 37-yarder.
His most recent regular-season start was at wide receiver for Minnesota vs. Detroit on Dec. 29, 2013. Webb also started as a wideout vs. Denver on Dec. 4, 2011, and at quarterback on Dec. 28, 2010 and Jan. 2, 2011 at Philadelphia and Detroit, respectively.
Webb's playoff numbers include 11 completions in 30 attempts -- all for the Vikings when he started a 2012 NFC Wild Card game in Green Bay -- for 180 yards, one touchdown and one interception, seven rushing attempts for 68 yards and an 18.5-yard average on five kickoff returns.
Coach Joe Judge was asked this week if Webb could be the backup quarterback against the Browns if McCoy starts.
"I think his experience in the past of playing quarterback would kind of put him in that category," Judge said. "He's meeting right now in three different meeting rooms. Two on offense and special teams. He's a guy that's got some versatility. We'll use Joe wherever available. That being said, we're trying to manage (quarterback) reps between Daniel, Colt and Thorson. There hasn't been a lot right now for Webb. That would probably be strictly more of an emergency role. There's been some other guys on our roster we worked throughout training camp and the season that may fit that emergency role a little bit better because of their knowledge of the offense and their experience here in what we would do with that emergency quarterback package. Joe is a guy we brought in here. We intend on giving him a shot to play. He's a guy that's got a lot of experience. He's taking reps in individual and some group work. He's doing a lot on the scout teams now as well."
Hartage played 19 defensive snaps last week vs. the Cardinals, his second game of the season. He has not been credited with a tackle.