Davis Webb

Much has been made of Davis Webb’s performance in the first preseason game this past Thursday night. Giants fans, myself included, have been part of the debate all offseason to draft a QB or take Barkley. Some are already looking at the grass in the neighbor’s yard and seeing Darnold + Mayfield flashing. It’s safe to say that the first, second and third picks have all “hit” on the requisite talent. All 3 showed they belong on the big stage. Can the Giants get their heir apparent at QB?

Webb’s problem is his accuracy. Right now it looks like he has enough command for many of the other parts of the game. I’m not worried about the clock running out at the end of the first half. As long as my coach isn’t Andy Reid, that shouldn’t be a problem. It’s the accuracy. Can that be corrected? Maybe. Maybe not.

There once was a time when it took many years for QBs to find their way in the NFL. Then Dan Marino came along and broke the mold. As the years went on, QBs made more progress earlier, benefiting from playing Pro-style offenses in college. We want QBs to make the jump faster and faster. It’s a question whether Jim Harbaugh, who took ~6 years to get his groove, would make it today.

Webb’s mechanics look better. He was “just” too high and too far on his WR throws. When he checked down to the RB, he was better. Not great. Better. Can he get the accuracy? Bulls are on Twitter saying be patient, it’s his first game in a year. Bears are saying that he should have been much further along. I’ve got a little of both.

Can accuracy be found? Troy Aikman, like him or not, has said that that is what you scout in college. I’m in agreement. Wonder wants the arm, believing that good mechanics can be taught, which will bring requisite accuracy. He explains that a strong arm plus good mechanics enable a QB to make throws with better accuracy over time. I want to see that natural accuracy. There are QBs who have it and everyone else does not.

It’s very early, but it looks like Mayfield and Darnold have that “natural” accuracy. We put that in quotes because anyone who watched Montana would know he had that, but that Bill Walsh would make his players practice the intermediate throws incessantly in the “West Coast Offense” so that the timing/accuracy was there. He strived for perfection because he knew that that delivered the YAC. Can accuracy be found in practice? Absolutely.

QBs like Eli Manning and Phil Simms won Super Bowls. Neither were naturally accurate. They practiced over and over. And then 4 years later Manning hit Plaxico in Green Bay and he looked the part. And then Phil Simms hits Bobby Johnson on 4th & 17 and he looked the part. I’ve never seen a more perfect pass ever than the one to Mario Manningham on the left sideline that set up the go-ahead score to win XLVI.

Davis Webb will either get accuracy in time or he will not. The good news is that Pat Shurmur is the QB whisperer, so if anyone can help him, it’s the Giants head coach. The great news for Giants fans is that Webb still has time. This is what Wonder refers to when he talks about being drafted to the right team. Webb has the right situation here in NY to develop. Patience and time are required. He has both because he plays behind the human gumby.

Kyle Lauletta has accuracy. He looked good. For all of this talking about Webb, Lauletta had greater ease at finding his receiver. We will have to watch that as well.

Gettleman has chosen the roster’s path. The one thing I know I am right about is this: if you give a mediocre QB a solid OL, he’ll be able to play, and if you give a good/great QB a bad OL, he’ll struggle. Keep building that OL and good things will happen. Blake Bortles is a reminder that if you protect your QB you can get it done. The Giants have enough right now at QB. They need more at OL. Maybe, just maybe, by the time Manning is done, Lauletta or Webb will be ready along with an OL that is ready to help them. (It’s really a shame how many years of Manning’s prime were wasted without adequate help up front. That’s a discussion for another day.) For now, Webb has the luxury of time to find his accuracy. I think Manning will have two more years (18 and 19). Webb needs to find his accuracy in that time.

CLE 20 NYG 10

The biggest takeaway is that Davis Webb lacks the touch. He’s got a bazooka arm but needs much better control. Lauletta has better touch.

Baker Mayfield is the real deal.

Saquon Barkley is the real deal, but he needs help up front.

The Giants OL is not good. They tried running right w Flowers and Omameh and there was nothing.

Giants CBs looked porous early.

Landon Collins looks 100%.

Giants run defense was fine but there wasn’t pressure on the QB.

Giants Offense was a lot of checkdowns underneath to RBs.

Back to planet Earth. A lot of work to do on both sides of the ball. Maybe the media puff pieces will slow down a little bit.

Preseason Week 1 Primer

Tonight is the first preseason game vs Cleveland. For new visitors (and a refresher for old) these are the things we look for in general, and specifically here in 2018:

General Preseason

1) Can the Offense move the ball? Sounds simple but in recent years the Giants Offense was dysfunctional in preseason and it was a tell for general malaise in the regular season. So what you look for is, with normal conditions, can they move the sticks? It doesn’t even mean TDs. If penalties destroy drives yet they move the ball otherwise, that’s fine.

2) What does First Team look like? Which unit of the opposing team are they playing against? If my first team can’t do anything vs their second team, not good. So this is the relativity of preseason.

3) The score is irrelevant. Yah, I’d prefer to win at least one game in preseason, but as a reminder, the 0-16 Lions were 4-0 in preseason.

4) Watch individual players. Is speed there? Is strength there? Is technique there? There are so many players missing their assignments that you can lose individual effort when viewing Overal team dysfunction. Identifying individual performance amidst the cacophony is a leading indicator of team success.

5) Watch the rookies. In 2007 this blog was all over a rookie R7 Running back named Ahmad Bradshaw. In 2010 a UFA named Victor Cruz caught 3 TD passes. Both were huge cogs for Super Bowl runs. They flashed in preseason of their debuts. Additionally, are prominent high draft picks looking the part? Jeremy Shockey literally ran over a former Jet (who was plucked for the expansion Texans) in his first preseason game. Highlight reel stuff. He was more than ready for the NFL.

6) Q4 is the Keystone Cops. This is when mayhem breaks loose. Teams are getting looks at the bottom of their bloated rosters to see if guys are capable of (learning and) executing their assignments. Forget about the silly stupid turnovers and just look for a few players who may make the team. Most of these guys will not be on the final roster in September. A few will make it to the practice squad.

7) Special teams tryouts are real. Gunners, long snappers, kickers, & punters get meaningful opportunities to make the squad. If it’s close between two backups, the guy who makes it will be the one who executes on Specials.

Specific to 2018

1) OFFENSIVE LINE. This is what I will be watching. While everyone else is m*******ing to Saquon Barkley, I’ll be watching OL. I’ve said it here and on Twitter- as the OL goes, so will the season. The Giants are loaded with skill players. BLEEPING LOADED. And it doesn’t mean a damn if the OL can’t get it done.

1a) Ereck Flowers still s*ck? Believe it or not, Flowers in the 2nd half of 2017 was not a total zero. He sometimes rose to mediocrity, which is all we need from him this year.

1b) How is Solder on the speed rush? Showing any signs of age?

1c) Will Hernandez- is he looking the part and flashing?

1d) Halapio and Jones blocking it up?

1e) Omameh run blocking anything beyond perfunctory?

1f) Is there anyone else worth anything?

2) Eli arm strength. Zip on the ball?

3) Is Davis Webb capable of not only being a credible backup but also being a legitimate NFL QB?

4) What does the pass rush look like? Bettcher blitzes a lot. Filter.

5) Is Eli Apple the year 1 version (as reported by the media) or the year 2 version?

6) Any sense from the Free Safety lottery?

7) is Landon Collins back?

8) Are Carter and Hill backing up the hype?

9) Preseason is full of surprises. Surprise us. There are a lot of players I specifically did not mention but we already know about. As an example, Etta-Tawo, Latimer and Raymond should all show us something at WR. Goodson, when healthy, will show us something. Ogletree and Vernon will be leaders of the defensive effort. Engram, OBJ (not expected to play) and Shepard are known quantities. Barkley will be special. These are NOT the players I’m going to be watching in preseason.

Football is back. The wait is over.

NFL Matters

A lifelong NY Giants fan just ripped up his PSL and walked away. He’s boycotting the league. Part or all of his action has to do with the anthem protests. His opinion is this: he doesn’t go to games to see politics.. he comes to watch football and escape politics. He’s voting with his feet to no longer attend or watch the games on television. “The NFL put the employees ahead of the customers. I can only let them know my displeasure by no longer buying or supporting their product.”

I have plenty of political views. If you want to get into that, follow me on Twitter and that can be the space for politics. I don’t want my football messed with politics.

Roger Goodell and the NFL handled the matter with incompetence, as usual. Why this guy gets $40M+ per season is baffling. Yah, it’s all about the money. But attendance (ratings) is down. It was going down before the protests and it is going down more after them. People who support the protests worry less about ratings. I don’t get entertained so that I can worry about other issues. Football is a game. It is escape. It is a distraction.

Let’s talk PSLs. This NY Giants blogger has railed against them for many years. It is a land grab by owners to get additional money from fans. The market will pay what it can bear. The problem is that PSLs stretch the goodwill between fan and franchise so far that there is nothing left when something goes wrong. Fans are tapped. $10 beers. $35 for parking. Paying for useless preseason games. Being used as pawns on flex games. Late Sunday night games with work on Monday. Our day jobs pay for the league to operate. Those day jobs, one way or another, pay for PSLs. It’s reaching saturation.

Saturation is where that 20 year waiting list for season’s tickets evaporates overnight. People work plenty hard for their discretionary spending. Economists call this concept of the extra value in a product the “consumer surplus.” It’s that extra value you get by buying something. You can see it first hand when you can buy a jar of Advil for 7 cents per pill and then when you have a headache at the airport you’ll pay $1.00 per pill to get relief. That 93 cents difference is the consumer surplus. PSLs wipe out the surplus. The NFL has saturated its product. They even got the City of Las Vegas to charge visitors more in taxes on their hotel rooms to pay for the new stadium. It’s insidious. Where do you think Odell Beckham’s salary, Roger Goodell’s salary and the $1.7B Met Life stadium come from? It comes from you and me. They have tapped us dry, and therein lies the problem for the legacy of Goodell. There is no more goodwill left. The consumer surplus joy of the product above our cost is gone. We can walk away. And ratings indicate that that is exactly what is happening.

The new Raiders stadium in Las Vegas is going to have PSLs. Club seats are selling for $20K-$75K per seat. Seats for the rest of us are $4K-$15K. Don’t do it… not for your team or any other. If you want to watch a game, just pay for the game through a ticket exchange. Unless it’s a playoff game, you’ll probably get reasonable access at a price pretty close to face value. And you won’t have to be burdened with a PSL, the obligation to buy all 10 games, and then the need/hassle of selling tickets to games that you don’t want.

Why do I bother blogging? Because if I can convince even just one person not to pay for a PSL, I have fought back against NFL greed. Let’s return some consumer surplus joy to the game we all love. Keep booing Goodell. He is the man who lines the pockets of current owners at the expense of the future of the game. He is the man who lacks the creativity to help employees channel change without interfering with an entertainment product.

I believe in Football. I believe in consumer surplus. Fight to protect that by pushing back when the NFL is reaching too hard for your wallet. And be ready to walk away, if that’s what it takes.