Josh Johnson, Geno Smith, and Davis Webb have been competing for the backup quarterback spot behind Eli Manning. The New York Giants usually aren’t concerned about their backup QB due to Manning’s health, but one injury could change that. Eli sat out in Week 1 of the preseason, which gave a chance for the three backups to battle. Unfortunately, many questions still remain.
Johnson was the most disappointing of the bunch. Despite Johnson playing with the starters in this game, he failed to deliver. He looked slow, showed accuracy issues, and lacked a strong pocket presence. Johnson did have to play against the Steelers’ first-team defense, while Smith and Webb mainly faced backups, but that doesn’t excuse Johnson’s play. Many have speculated he will be the quarterback cut from the team when the regular season starts, and his performance in game one shows why.
Smith made a strong case for himself in the beginning, but his performance still had some question marks. Smith went 10/16 for 114 yards, which is strong, but he missed a few throws. The most erroneous pass of his this game was an interception to Pittsburgh linebacker Arthur Moats. Despite that blemish however, Smith was a clear head above Josh Johnson. The Giants will likely let Geno start a preseason game in the next few weeks, and his performance there will be the real indicator.
While Johnson was pretty bad, and Smith was actual decent for a bit, the rookie Davis Webb looked quite average. Webb had some good passes and bad passes, and it seemed he was desperately trying to avoid making a mistake. The rookie showed decent pocket presence at times. However, his accuracy was an issue. On fourth and 10 with the game on the line, Webb escaped pressure but threw a wobbly pass away from his receiver. That play was emblematic of his entire performance.
The most concerning statistic for all of these quarterbacks was their lack of touchdowns. Despite numerous trips down the field, none of the three passers could lead a touchdown drive or throw one in. This is especially concerning when considering the Giants’ redzone struggles last year.
This was only one preseason game, but the Giants need a little bit more from their quarterbacks. Geno could pull away in the competition with a strong game the next few weeks. Webb likely has a longer leash due to his status as a rookie. However, Johnson is a veteran and can’t afford to play so poorly. New York may cut Johnson soon if his performance doesn’t improve.
With the competition so close, don’t be surprised if Manning doesn’t get any snaps next week either. He is getting old, and the New York Giants want to be sure they have the best backup available.