EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants' pregame plan at quarterback Sunday was to keep Daniel Jones on the sideline, play Tyrod Taylor in the first quarter, and have Davis Webb finish the preseason with three quarters of work against the Jets.
But they had to accelerate Webb's entrance into the game after Taylor suffered a back injury when he was hit hard by defensive lineman Michael Clemons with about 2:20 remaining in the opening quarter. Taylor eventually walked off the field and was examined in the medical tent on the sideline before he was carted to the locker room. The Giants later announced he had a back injury.
"He should be okay," coach Brian Daboll said of Taylor, who completed a 25-yard pass to rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger on the play on which he was hurt. "I don't think there's anything (serious). He just landed hard, and I talked to him at halftime. And he said he's okay."
The game became another showcase for Webb, who completed 30 of 38 passes for 202 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown to another rookie tight end, Austin Allen, in the Giants' preseason-closing 31-27 loss to the Jets in MetLife Stadium.
In three preseason games, Webb threw 81 passes, or 19 more than the combined total of Jones (26) and Taylor (36). He completed 60 (74.1%) for 457 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
"It was good," Daboll said of Webb's preseason. "I think he was efficient. Made good decisions. Led the team down to score points when he got his opportunities. Finished a couple of the games. Tried to give the ball back there with, whatever it was, 26 seconds, to see if we could do it one more time. But I have a lot of confidence in Davis, and I've seen him grow a lot the last few years that I've been with him: his fundamentals, the way he plays the position, his decision-making process. The last few years he's gotten better and better."
View photos from the preseason finale between the Giants and Jets at MetLife Stadium.
Since training camp began, Taylor has been second and Webb third in the team's quarterback hierarchy. But with roster cuts looming and the season opener two weeks away, Daboll conceded Webb's play has made that decision a tough one.
"Yes, certainly," Daboll said. "He's been in the offense for a while. I think you can tell out there he feels fairly comfortable in our scheme, and we know what he likes. And he's done a really good job since he's been here."
This is the second time Webb has worn a Giants uniform. He was the team's third-round draft choice in 2017 but was released prior to the 2018 season. Webb spent that year on the Jets' practice squad and the previous three seasons in Buffalo, where Daboll was the offensive coordinator. A week after Daboll was named the Giants' coach, the team signed Webb.
What does he believe he has shown Daboll and the coaching staff this summer?
"I think leadership," Webb said. "Ability to move the football and get points. That's the job of the quarterback, take care of the football. I think we all did a pretty good job in the preseason, all the quarterbacks. There weren't many interceptions. I think there were two in all three games. So, we were smart with the football and that's the job, get points for the offense. I think I did my best and I'll see what happens."
Where has Webb improved the most?
"I think my ability to escape and make plays with my feet," Webb said. "I haven't always done that in my career. Then I went out to Buffalo and watched (quarterback) Josh (Allen) for a while. You kind of pick up on some things. I think escaping in and out of the pocket, making throws on the run, we were close to a couple of big ones today. Very close. Then operationally I think just being in the offense for a while, you can play pretty fast paced."
Which guarantees him … nothing. Despite spending five years in the NFL, Webb has thrown only one regular season pass, in 2021 for the Bills. It's possible the Giants could keep just two quarterbacks to alleviate a numbers crunch at other positions.
Webb has been through the roster cutdown process in the past, and he is trying to help his young teammates deal with the uncertainty and anxiety.
"I've definitely talked about it with a few guys, especially young, good rookies and some vets," he said. "We've all been in this situation, but I think this is my best preseason I've had. I think that's a credit to the offensive line and the coaches. (Offensive coordinator Mike) Kafka did a great job calling plays. It was a lot of fun this preseason. Hopefully, it works out."