– by Alexander George and Glenn Warciski
One of the most interesting questions the New York Giants organization will answer before the start of the 2018 NFL season is the identity of the back – up quarterback for the Giants. It is an open competition between last year’s quarterback draft pick, Davis Webb and this year’s fourth round draft pick, Kyle Lauletta. Both of these quarterbacks had their best seasons in their senior years with single season and career records to signify their importance in the college teams they played for. Ultimately, the decision may come down to a combination of mandatory organized team activities as well as the pre-season games in August.
As a graduate transfer from Texas Tech to California University, Davis Webb earned All-PAC 12 honorable mentions and was awarded game MVP at the 2017 Senior Bowl. In his senior year at California, Webb ranked second in total yards completed with 4,295 and tied for the most touchdowns completed (37 passing and 6 rushing). He also holds the California record of most pass attempts (620) and completions (382) in a single season.
Kyle Lauletta, who spent his entire collegiate career with the Richmond Spiders, a football champion sub-division (FCS) school, becomes instantaneously noticeable when each year he played effectively with a different offensive coordinator. Lauletta’s record in the three years as a starting quarterback was 24 victories and 12 losses in 36 games. Besides having over three thousand yards throwing, he also rushed for eleven touchdowns. The former Richmond quarterback holds school records for most career passing yards (10,465), most touchdown passes in a single season (28) and in his collegiate career (73). He even won the exact same MVP awards in the Senior Bowl the year after Davis Webb.
With both drafted back-up New York Giant quarterbacks lacking NFL experience, the voluntary OTAs (organized team activities), which started about three weeks ago and just finished last Thursday, is a sure-fire starting point to see who has the edge for the position. Conclusively, Davis Webb had the better ota’s connecting with the deep passes thrown to various Giants wide receivers. Kyle Lauletta had balls fall short of their intended targets.
The praise surrounding Webb’s OTA performance from such notable players such as safety Landon Collins and the 2018 first round draft pick Saquon Barkley definitely helps the Californian quarterback’s case. Furthermore, head coach Pat Shurmer, who will most likely be running a pro-style offense, indicated that Webb would fit the Giants offensive scheme. Considering that the Giants drafted Kyle Lauletta because he has a better understanding of complex offensive and defensive reads better than Webb, it is a surprising statement made by coach Shurmer.
Despite Davis Webb not playing a single game last season and only had a very limited amount of playing time last pre-season (3 games, 18 completions out of 34 passing attempts for 190 yards), Webb has had the advantage of being under the tutelage of veteran quarterback and eventual Hall of Famer Eli Manning. Kyle Lauletta, at this point in his playing career, relied on generational experience in which his father and older son played quarterback in college.
With mandatory training camp starting today, Kyle Lauletta must perform a lot better than he did in the OTAs or the former Richmond quarterback could find himself down a deep abyss where climbing up to a future starting quarterback position for this organization is a projected long shot.
Although Lauletta is a long shot, he has received a lot of praise from pundits.
Former GM Charlie Casserly on Lauletta: “He has first round talent and the only reason he didn’t go higher was I think the small school stuff and he is the goods and incredible Giants get for Giants in the 4th.”
Former head coach and now analyst Brian Billick on Lauletta: “This may be the best quarterback pick of the draft,” Billick said on NFL Network. “This guy has some big potential. A lot of people really love what they saw out of this kid. He’s going to an organization where he fits — and yeah at the fourth round — absolutely…”
When mini-camp opens today, it will be interesting to find out whether Webb or Lauletta has the inside track to the back up quarterback position. Stay tuned.
Other notes: Last week, we learned Giants GM Dave Gettleman has cancer. Per reports, Gettleman has lymphoma. At this time, a generic diagnosis was given. So we do not know what type of lymphoma or what stage it is in. It is belief of the NYGunderground, Gettleman had cancer prior to his hiring in December. The timing of the announcement of the diagnosis was a shock but also expedient. As we have chronicled here on the NYGunderground.com, Giants owner John Mara has made many PR blunders over the last three years: handling of Tom Coughlin’s departure, the Josh Brown cover-up, and the Eli Manning benching firestorm, all have blown up like an imprecation in his face. After careful consideration, Mara selected Gettleman to get the Giants on the right track. Imagine if it was confirmed at the time, Gettleman had cancer. Why is he picking someone who has cancer to run the team? We think Mara is being very careful in how information is being disseminated to the media. In other words, he wants to control the message. Now, after free agency and the draft is over and the Giants are heading into mandatory mini-camp, we now know of Gettleman’s lymphoma. Even though the Giants are downplaying Gettleman’s lymphoma diagnosis, this is serious. The hope is Gettleman makes a speedy recovery and his cancer is not debilitating. Get well Dave!