One of the players being closely watched this summer is rookie QB Ryan Nassib. Why, you ask? Because of several reasons.
First, because the Giants traded up to get him in draft - something they rarely do - and second, he is from Syracuse, which has a big downstate following and is the alma mater of a large swath of local and national football media members.
The reality of Nassib's potential tenure with the Giants is this: he may never take a meaningful snap in Giant uniform. Eli Manning is 31 and will probably play seven or eight more years. Nassib's contract is for four years. Barring the unforeseen, he's Jason Garrett to Eli's Troy Aikman or Frank Reich to Eli's Jim Kelly. A career backup.
Then again he could be Jeff Hostetler, who waited seven seasons behind Phil Simms before he got an opportunity to show his wares.
But that doesn't really matter around here. Nassib is an interesting prospect. In the NFL, anything is possible. Nassib could end up being trade bait or a superstar here or somewhere else. His first taste of the NFL last week left him with blood in his mouth, so to speak. Things didn't go so well.
Nassib's first series was a disaster. Penalties and nerves had the Giant third-string offense moving backwards. Then, a wild snap by Matt McCants led to a Pittsburgh defensive touchdown. An inauspicious start to a career if there ever was one.
His coach sloughed it off after Nassib rebounded, showing poise two series later by leading the Giants on a 10 play, 54 yard drive that ended with a Josh Brown 47-yard FG.
"I think he’s played pretty well," said OC Kevin Gilbride. "He actually did a nice thing. He didn’t get as much protection as some of the other guys got, but I thought he hung in there and I thought he was throwing the ball to the right spot. When he had the time, he made some good throws. "
One of those throws was a 29-yarder to WR Julian Talley on the right sideline. Eli liked what he saw from Nassib, who is here to stay by nature of the way he was obtained....
"I thought Ryan made some good plays," Manning said. "He was in a couple of tough circumstances and made the best out of them, didn't force the ball, didn't turn the ball over, had some pressure, had some good movement in the pocket, protected the ball, so that first preseason game you’re in there with a lot of guys in their first preseason game, so it’s not going to be always smooth sailing. There are going to be some bad plays but I think it’s a great learning experience and I thought he made some good decisions and good plays."
No one realistically believes Nassib will see a whole lot of work once the season begins. He is currently behind David Carr on the depth chart, but Gilbride said yesterday that could change.
"I think there’s no question, it’s a legitimate competition," declared Gilbride.