Eli Manning has been so durable during his 12-year career that the Giants have rarely backed him up with a significant understudy.
But for Ryan Nassib, he's trying his best to let Big Blue know they not only have a steady and reliable backup, but an actual successor -- whenever that may be.
Nassib is entering his third season as a Giant, and with that comes a sense of understanding the game better, having the on-field process slow down, more confidence -- from within and from anyone associated with Big Blue.
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“Ryan is a playmaker, man. He’s going to find you and he’s going to let it go,” said tight end Larry Donnell. “He’s a great guy and a great player. He’s a gun slinger, and he’s been letting it go.”
Nassib has indeed played better as the summer has passed and been confident in letting the ball fly all over the field. Teammates have noticed. And so has the man that matters most, Tom Coughlin. The grizzled head coach launched some praise towards Nassib following his performance on Saturday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Coughlin was particularly impressed with the way Nassib controlled the tempo, and put points on the board, most notably his touchdown strike to Dwayne Harris.
“Ryan put it down low where the draped-over-his-back corner couldn’t get to the ball and Dwayne went down and made that difficult catch,” said Coughlin. “He’s done well. This has been good for his development. … Continue to move the ball, control the offense, its tempo, and continue to put points on the board. .This is where he takes the next step [by] continuing to perform well in not only games, but in practices.”
The practices have been important, but nothing means more to player development as the games, because of the amount of plays he's been getting. Last season's preseason success -- when he and wideout Corey Washington tore up the competition -- was almost a novelty. But this summer has taken on a more serious tone, as Nassib seems locked in and appearing more like a team leader, even though Manning figures to be here for years to come -- especially when he finally signs a contract extension.
Nassib isn't worried about that prospect. He's only concerned with his own ascension.
"This has been pretty important," Nassib said about his summer. "It's been an important evaluation tool for the coaching staff ... Still going to make some mistakes, and some things aren't going to go your way, but you have to learn from them and keep at it."
The third-year vet has been keeping up with second-year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's uptempo offense, a system the quarterback feels best fits his skill set. Part of Nassib's maturation certainly lies within the amount of time he's spent at Manning's feet. The burgeoning passer gives credit to his veteran leader.
"I've picked up a lot from him, like how to prepare. I'm like a sponge around him, simply because he's been around so long and has seen and done just about everything," Nassib said. "He carries a lot of experience [like] being on winning teams, struggling teams that found ways to bounce back, and teams that won the Super Bowl. I try to soak up as much as I can."
Giants’ fans are no doubt hoping Manning stays healthy and upright this season, but if Nassib continues to ascend, he’ll at least not make the drop-off so severe.
Big Blue notes:
-Safety Justin Currie (ankle) and linebacker Tony Johnson (knee) were waived/injured. Both players were hurt in last week’s preseason victory over Jacksonville. Their roster spots were filled by veteran linebacker Ashlee Palmer of Ole Miss and rookie defensive back C.J. Conway of nearby Montclair State.