Big Blue Interactive is dedicated to being your No. 1 source for Giants’ news on the web. If it involves Big Blue, we’ve got you covered. What better way to do that than bring some of the Giants’ best beat writers together for a panel discussion each week. Thus, we give you, the Big Blue Breakdown.
Last week, our panel took a look at the Giants tight end situation. This week, it’s Ryan Nassib. We also went to the waiver wire and acquired a new voice. We’re pleased to have the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz join the discussion.
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QUESTION (from Jessica in East Hampton): The Giants appear to be doing everything they can to let Ryan Nassib take the No. 2 quarterback position behind Eli Manning, but the second-year pro struggled throughout OTAs. What’s your opinion on Nassib? Do you believe he can be the team’s No. 2, or should the Giants look for another option?
CONNOR HUGHES/Big Blue Interactive
The entire ‘Ryan Nassib’ concept to me is interesting. Initially when the Giants’ traded up for the Syracuse alum, I assumed it wasn’t to be the quarterback of the future, but trade bait. Here was a player who had quite the rep entering the draft, but happened to fall. The idea of drafting a player, developing him for a year or two and then trading him away for a higher pick than you selected him isn’t unheard of. Matt Schaub anyone?
But since trading in his orange and navy for blue and white, Nassib really hasn’t shown much at all. He wasn’t given too many chances during the preseason last year, being hidden away and forced into “mental reps.” This season, the Giants appear to be making up for it. From OTAs to mini-camp, Nassib has been given every chance to grab hold of the No. 2 position, but in my eyes just hasn’t impressed.
I know, it’s OTAs. I know, no one has pads on. I know, the defense is almost always ahead of the offense at this point. But it’s not the fact Nassib isn’t firing bombs over Antrel Rolle’s head that is concerning to me, it’s the little things. He looks very flustered in the pocket. When the play breaks down, he panics. When simply working with wideouts, he doesn’t have much touch. Could it all change? Yes. But if something happens to Eli Manning this year… and Ryan Nassib goes in…
ART STAPLETON/ Daily Record
I’m not buying the assertion that Nassib is struggling based on three OTA practices open to the media. I have heard nothing yet from the Giants that they have given up on the second-year pro, and if anything, their moves of releasing Josh Freeman and Rusty Smith spoke more of their confidence that he was making strides. Obviously Eli’s recovery from ankle surgery played a part in that, but don’t overlook their commitment to Nassib to step up and take this role.
The defense is always ahead of the offense in OTAs and mini-camp – does anyone remember the Brandon Bing highlight reel? While this defense is running the same familiar playbook, the offense is continuing to install on the fly. That’s why assessing Nassib based on a few practices is short-sighted. Has he looked great? No. But neither has Eli, truth be told. I think Nassib looks more comfortable with his surroundings so far and his body language has been good, from what I’ve seen. Does he need to ramp things up? Absolutely. I’m not ready to say he’s a bust because Charles James has jumped a few routes on him in what amounts to passing drills as the Giants continue to put this offense on the field – with no running game yet, I might add.
Should the Giants have drafted Nassib in the fourth round last year? Would they have been better served addressing another position? At this point, because of the way things fell apart in 2013, you’d say yes. But this offense remains a work-in-progress, as does Nassib. Can he be the No. 2? Unless he is a disaster in the preseason, Nassib will be Eli’s backup. And if he’s playing in 2014, then the Giants have bigger problems than his perceived struggles.
PAT TRAINA/ Inside Football, Bleacher Report & Sports XChange
I think it’s too soon to state whether Nassib can be the No. 2 quarterback because right now, we’ve seen them work in shorts and shells. Let’s see how Nassib does with a live defense in front of him. Things we’ll need to see include if he’s making the right reads, how he’s handling pressure and if he’s running the offense efficiently.
Regarding how he’s looked in the spring workouts, quite honestly other than maybe Victor Cruz, no one has really jumped out as far as being consistent just yet. Remember, everyone’s learning the new system so there’s probably a bit more thinking going n rather than just doing.
While it’s true that Nassib has thrown few interceptions this spring (at least when the media’s been in attendance), I don’t believe all of those picks have been his fault – of the two he threw in the last OTA we had access to, I think maybe one was his fault.
I think it is a positive sign that Nassib has earned more snaps this spring – that to me shows that he is grasping the concepts in the classroom. However, as I’ve said before, grasping the concepts and executing them are two very different things. Until the speed of the on-field activity increases, I think it’s probably a good idea to reserve judgment regarding whether Nassib has a good chance of emerging as Eli Manning’s backup.
PAUL SCHWARTZ/ New York Post
The whole Ryan Nassib situation was messy from the start, as the Giants traded up to get him in the fourth round in 2013 and GM Jerry Reese immediately said he hoped Nassib never took a snap. We get it, no one wants anything to happen to Eli Manning and the No. 2 quarterback on the Giants is one of those “meaningless’’ positions, as Eli has never missed anything and the backup quarterback doesn’t do a thing except hold the clipboard. Of course, if the backup is ever needed he instantly goes from the least significant to the most important player on the roster.
There’s no doubt Tom Coughlin wants to keep only two quarterbacks and that he and the front office want the depth chart to be Manning and then Nassib. They will force-feed Nassib to get him the reps he needs to make an impression and only if he proves unworthy will Curtis Painter enter into the discussion. If the Giants want to keep a bonus player on the roster – say, return specialist Trindon Holliday – they need to save a spot by keeping only two quarterbacks.
Can Nassib play? So far, not so good but it’s too soon to make that determination. There’s been no evidence that he’s a real NFL quarterback. His arm looks fine but nothing special. His command of the offense looks okay but nothing special. His decision-making looks to be adequate and it’s probably asking too much for it to be any better than that. At this point, it would be a real leap of faith to state the Giants should be confident Nassib can emerge as a legit No. 2 behind Manning. Nassib will be given every opportunity to claim the job, as cutting a fourth-round pick in his second season doesn’t look good for anyone associated with the draft choice.
Figure to see plenty of Nassib this summer. It’s a good year for the Giants to have five preseason games, as they will feature plenty of Nassib and his trial under fire will be on display for all to see.
JORDAN RAANAN/ NJ.com
The Giants appear to be doing everything they can to let Ryan Nassib take the No. 2 quarterback position behind Eli Manning, but the second-year pro struggled throughout OTAs. What’s your opinion on Nassib? Do you believe he can be the team’s No. 2, or should the Giants look for another option?
I came into this offseason with basically no preconceived opinion on Nassib. I wasn’t covering the team during training camp last season and the few moments Nassib threw passes during practices in November and December weren’t nearly enough to make any sort of evaluation (although I wasn’t impressed then either). So I gave him the benefit of the doubt that being inactive for all 16 games was one of those Tom Coughlin specials where rookies sometimes get buried because he can’t trust them.
But after watching Nassib in OTAs and minicamp, I couldn’t be any less impressed. He didn’t throw the ball particularly well (lots of wobblers), didn’t throw with much accuracy (there were 5-yard passes into the ground and 10-yard passes overthrown by 10 yards), and didn’t seem to be very comfortable in the pocket, even when the pass rushers weren’t allowed to hit him. Nassib didn’t look good at all in my eyes.
I know it’s a new offense and there is a learning curve. Eli Manning has that same learning curve though, and he looked exponentially better than Nassib. This clearly leaves me with serious doubts that Nassib should be the Giants’ backup quarterback. But, at the same time, they want him to be their backup and will give him every chance possible. And they should. No way the Giants’ should give up on their 2013 fourth-round pick before ever seeing him in real game action. You have to give quarterbacks a chance in the NFL. Sometimes, it takes several years before they get it. Nassib may be one of those guys.
But it doesn’t mean I don’t have my doubts. Nick Foles never looked like Nassib did this spring when I was covering the Eagles the past few years, and he was learning a new offense each of his first two years as well. Nassib looked bad this offseason. To describe his performance as shaky would be generous.
ED VALENTINE/ Big Blue View
The Giants are undoubtedly giving Nassib every opportunity to take the backup job. During OTAs and mini-camp he took the majority of second- and third-team reps, with Curtis Painter hardly seeing any action.
The question with Nassib is simply whether or not he can execute. He appears to be able to line up the offense and to recognize where the ball needs to go — he has simply been inaccurate and had difficulty delivering the ball there. If he is having trouble delivering the ball while practicing is shorts and a t-shirt with no press coverage I can’t be terribly optimistic that he will look better in the preseason games. The Giants have to hope he can, because otherwise he becomes a wasted draft pick and the Giants have wasted two seasons trying to develop him.
If Nassib proves he can’t do the job, the question then is whether or not there is a better option available than Curtis Painter. Guys like Kevin Kolb, Rex Grossman and Seneca Wallace are available — but are those guys really appealing options? Maybe the Packers will cut Scott Tolzien, who played against the Giants last season. Again, though, is he better than Painter?
If Nassib can’t step up, Painter would seem likely to end up with the job by default.
— New York Giants (@Giants) June 13, 2014