Buffalo Bills offseason preview 2021: Quarterbacks

The Buffalo Bills finally have an answer in their franchise quarterback role, but adjustments may be coming to their backup situation.

The Position: Quarterback
On the Roster: Josh Allen, Jake Fromm
Free Agents: Matt Barkley
Reserve/Future: Davis Webb

It took 24 years, 18 AFC East titles for the New England Patriots, and countless false prophets…but the Buffalo Bills have finally found the answer to Jim Kelly.

Any doubts about Josh Allen’s NFL future were more or less eliminated with a historic season that likely occupies its own chapter in the Buffalo record books. Allen’s 2020 evolution turned the Bills into bona fide championship contenders, ones that fell just a game short of the Super Bowl. It’s safe to say that the Bills envision Allen riding out the decade with a streaking buffalo on his helmet…and maybe partake in a little of the next one as well. In fact, it may not be too early to start thinking about an extension to ensure he stays in blue and red.

But if any franchise knows that NFL prosperity can be yanked away in the blink of an eye…it’s the Buffalo Bills.

No one in their right football mind is going to deny that Allen has a role to play in the future of not only Western New York but the national gridiron scene as a whole. But the Bills must think about the names behind Allen, just in case the medically unthinkable happens. Allen has started the last 42 Bills games under center, but he did miss four games during his rookie year (2018) with an elbow injury. During that time, Buffalo worked with the backup hydra of Nathan Peterman, Derek Anderson, and Matt Barkley, the latter securing the long-term backup job by earning the lone win in that bunch.

Obviously, Allen is the toast of The Queen City until further notice. But no one in the NFL has ever prepared for an injury, especially one of the season-ending variety that can sink Super Bowl runs entirely. Barkley has proven somewhat reliable when called upon (his 2020-21 ledger consisted of Week 17 mop-up duty in a blowout win over Miami), but the Bills might have plans for rookie Jake Fromm to assume the role. Chosen in the fifth round of last year’s draft, Fromm’s rookie season was an unusual situation where he was kept in relative isolation in case COVID-19-related protocols rendered Allen, Barkley, and practice squad arm Davis Webb inactive.

It may seem irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but backup quarterback remains one of the most underrated positions in any of the four major sports. The wrong name behind Allen, likely one the Bills hope they never have to see in the weekly box score, could save or derail a championship effort the Bills have steadily built.

Free Agents-to-be

Matt Barkley

Barkley’s football career has never truly recovered since he fell to the fourth round of the 2013 draft and a six-game stint as a starter yielded little in Chicago. But he managed to create some stability in Buffalo after guiding the Bills to a one-sided win over the Jets during the aforementioned 2018 season, having been Allen’s backup ever since. Barkley’s given little reason for the Bills to move on, but it’s possible they could move on to a younger name like Fromm to serve as Allen’s understudy.

Will They Draft? 

Very, very, very unlikely. The Bills just used a draft pick on a quarterback in Fromm, and if they bring in another camp arm. It’ll likely be one of the veteran free agent variety. Longshot options on day three include Ian Book of Notre Dame and Dustin Crum out of Kent State.

Veteran Possibilities

Tyrod Taylor, LA Chargers

One of the most reliable pre-Allen options as Buffalo quarterback was Taylor, who helped the Bills end a playoff drought that nearly became old enough to enjoy a Labatt Blue legally. Since Allen’s takeover, Taylor has been the opening act for rookie sensations in Cleveland and Los Angeles. If Allen were to go down, Taylor would serve as a reliable replacement because he has likewise been a multi-threat; some of the records Allen broke this season, namely the quarterback rushing marks, previously belonged to Taylor.

Jacoby Brissett, Indianapolis 

It’s unfortunate that Brissett likely won’t get an opportunity to win his starting job back in Indianapolis, as he performed admirably when Andrew Luck abruptly retired in 2018. Brissett is another mobile threat who would help Buffalo quickly pick up the pieces if the unthinkable happened to Allen. Despite backing up Phillip Rivers this season, the Colts had Brissett come for quarterback sneak situations on crucial short-yardage situations (scoring three touchdowns last season).

Colt McCoy, NY Giants

If Barkley leaves and the Bills go looking for a more traditional veteran option to compete with Fromm, they could go with McCoy, who was relatively decent in two starts with the Giants, even helping the team earn a win in Seattle.

Outlook

Quarterback remains very low on the Bills’ offseason priority list. If they lose Barkley, it’s likely they’ll attempt to groom Fromm into the backup role, though a competition will ensue if they want someone with more experience behind Allen.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: How Will John Mara Handle the Manning to Jones Change?

The New York Giants are embarking on an inevitable QB controversy whether they like it or not. John Mara is going to have the final say on the transfer of guard from Manning to Jones and he must get it right this time around.

Let’s flashback to the 2017 NFL Season when the Giants ended Eli Manning’s 13 seasons, 210 consecutive start streak in favor of Geno Smith. The team was eliminated from the playoffs and were playing a meaningless game against a sub-par .500 raiders team.

Heading towards a high draft pick with a 2-9 record, it made sense for the team to see what they had in rookie QB Davis Webb, right? Wrong. The team is a classless move decided its best action was to bench the best QB in franchise history for a player that already had shown he is nothing more than a backup in the NFL.

Fast forward to today and a similar situation is developing in John Mara’s hands. The difference is the newly drafted QB is a #6th overall pick who begs the question of not if but when he will take over the reins from Eli Manning?

Pat Shurmur has reiterated throughout the offseason on playing the best QB and making sure Daniel Jones is ready to play week 1. John Mara came out on Tuesday and similarly talked to reporters reassuring everyone who the Giants starting QB is.

“I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field,” Mara told reporters at the Giants training facility (CBS Sports).

Here is the question the Giants coaching staff along with ownership must ask themselves during the regular season:

Is Eli Manning holding back the Giant’s offense?

Regardless of the New York Giants record, the team has to play the QB that gives them the best chance to win. This motto has been what Pat Shurmur has told the media over and over again foreshadowing a potential change if needed.

Teams in the past have been able to move on from their franchise QB leaving emotion out of the decision. Look at Brett Favre and the Packers, Peyton Manning with the Colts. Not to mention these two players were statistically better with their first teams than Eli Manning has been in his career with the Giants. The Giants cannot hesitate to make a change if Manning starts to struggle with the future of their franchise sitting on the bench.

John Mara understands all that Eli Manning has done for the Giants. A two time Super Bowl champion is hard to move on from. However, when the time is right he must sign off on a QB change.

For Eli’s sake, hopefully, he plays 16 games and Jones doesn’t see the field.

New York Giants: Quarterbacks To Watch At The Senior Bowl

The New York Giants drafted

We know the Giants love to draft players from the senior bowl. Last year’s Senior Bowl MVP, quarterback Kyle Lauletta, was a 4th round selection for the Giants in 2018. In 2017, Giants’ third round pick Davis Webb was the Senior Bowl MVP. They also picked another Senior Bowl standout in the third round of the 2018 Draft: B.J. Hill.

With a history of drafting players who perform in the Senior Bowl, it would not be a surprise if the Giants look to draft another senior quarterback in 2019.

North Team Quarterbacks:

The two most notable quarterbacks on the Senior Bowl North Team roster are Drew Lock and Daniel Jones. They are both projected to be first or second round selections in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The two other quarterbacks are Ryan Finley and Trace McSorley. Neither of them have received first round buzz recently, but they could be mid-round selections that NFL teams will look to turn into developmental players. It is unlikely that the Giants will spend another mid-round pick on a quarterback in 2019, after taking one in 2018. The quarterbacks to watch out of Mobile in 2019 for the Giants are Lock and Jones.

Drew Lock is a senior out of Missouri. In his official Senior Bowl weigh-in, Lock was measured at 6′ 3″, 223 lbs., with a 33.5″ arm length and 9″ hands. On the first day of Senior Bowl practice, Lock excelled.

According to The Draft Network, he was the best of all the quarterbacks. Drew Lock was a statistically great quarterback in his junior and senior years at Missouri. As a junior, Lock threw 44 touchdown passes to 13 interceptions with 3,964 yards. This is certainly his best statistical season. However, Lock played a cleaner game as a senior. He reduced his interception total to only 8 and still added 28 touchdown passes.

Daniel Jones, the NFL prototype out of Duke, struggled in his first practice of the Senior Bowl. He weighed in at 220 lbs. to go along with his 6′ 5″ frame that scouts love. He also has big hands at 9 3/4″ with long 33 1/4″ arms.

Jones struggled with ball placement and timing even during on-air drills, consistently putting balls behind their receivers or forcing them to slow and wait on vertical patterns. Jones improved a little in the 1-on-1s, dropping in a nice corner route for his best throw of the day.

Daniel receives a lot of first round buzz due in part to his former coach. David Cutcliffe is a great quarterback coach who got multiple players ready for the NFL, including Eli Manning and Peyton Manning. Statistically, Daniel Jones will not blow you away. However, he has the prototypical body type and all the physical tools to succeed at the next level, plus the professional coaching.

Ryan Finley out of NC State used to be projected as one of the top quarterbacks in the 2019 draft class. However, after his senior year, he has slipped in prospect rankings. One red flag with Finley is his age. He is 24 years old. That makes him older than all of the first round quarterbacks in last year’s draft, and a year older than second-year pro Patrick Mahomes. However, Finley showed flashes of great play in college. With a great week at the Senior Bowl, Finley’s stock could rise again.

Trace McSorley is an undersized signal-caller from Penn State. He played in a run-heavy offense with Saquon Barkley in 2017. In 2018, McSorley actually threw even less passes for lower statistics. However, he is a dual-threat quarterback. McSorley ran in 11 touchdowns in 2017 and 12 in 2018. In 2018, he totaled an impressive 798 rushing yards. What scouts have seen from McSorley as a thrower is a small sample size. However, his rushing ability is enough to draw him some interest. Trace could use a big week in Mobile to move up the big boards.

 

Davis Webb Struggles To Find Words To Describe State Of The Giants

When the New York Giants sat former quarterback Davis Webb in the final game of the pre-season to provide rookie Kyle Lauletta with more playing time, he knew his fate was sealed. Nobody saw this result coming, and several months later it might seem as if cutting Webb was the best possible outcome for the young passer and the worst for the Giants.

Big Blue currently sits at 1-6 on the season and has one of the most embarrassing offenses in the NFL, while Webb enjoys the 3-3 Jets on the upswing of a two year rebuild.

When asked about his thought on the mess that’s the New York Giants, Webb stated:

“I think this could have been the best thing that happened to me,” Webb told The Post.

He followed it up with an unsure, “I know uh … I think uh …” Trying to piece together his words carefully as he subtly tears apart his former team. But, we know Webb isn’t that type of player or man, so he took the high-road after being abruptly released after having a promising pre-season.

“I’ve watched their games,” Webb said. “I think they’re really close to having a really, really good game coming up. I know it hasn’t gone the way they’ve wanted to, but I root for them every single Sunday.”

The new management for the Giants miscalculated entirely in their attempt to piece together the Giants’ roster. Clearly, their attempt failed miserably, which in the end put Webb in a bad position and forced him to hit the restart button with a  team that has already drafted their future signal caller.

In response to him being cut, Webb stated:

“You just don’t expect it,” he said. “You ask anyone over there and no one saw it coming. But it did. It took me a day or two to accept it and then once I did I was ready to rock and roll.”

“I don’t think he’s played bad at all. I think whoever is writing about it and in the media, you have to understand what the whole game plan is. We don’t know that.”

It’s a fair explanation for Manning’s porous red-zone play lack of mobility, and in the end, it comes down to the offensive line’s inability to provide the receivers with the proper amount of time to run their routes and for Manning to feel secure waiting for the openings.

While a majority of fans are getting tired with Manning’s mishaps, some might be wishing Webb was around to provide some consolation to a season that’s clearly headed south-bound.

 

New York Giants: Webb Speaks About NYG For First Time Since Cut

It didn’t take Davis Webb long to reveal his own take on his release from the New York Giants.  The Giants cut him on September 2nd to the surprise of everyone, as part of a wave of releases to make room for new waiver signings. But Webb was barely off the team for a couple of days before being picked up by the other franchise in New York, the Jets.

They made a decision. I don’t have to agree with it…

With comeback player and potential first team contender Teddy Bridgewater traded to the Saints, Sam Darnold has a firm hold of the starting role. However, the Jets lacked a solid backup quarterback and it seems they’re banking on Webb being that player for them. After all, Webb wasn’t a free agent for very long before being picked up by the team.

What does Webb himself think of it all? NFL quarterbacks aren’t known for being completely honest when answering media questions, but Webb didn’t shy away from giving his true opinion on the situation. “You never see it coming. I think everybody was kind of shocked. At the same time, they made a decision. I don’t have to agree with it.”

Interestingly, the Giants didn’t give a reason why Webb was waived, despite entering the season as Eli Manning’s potential heir. But Webb claims he isn’t upset about that. “I didn’t need a reason. They made a decision. I didn’t agree with it. I don’t think many people did, especially my teammates. I’ve moved on and I wish them nothing but the best.”

Leading up to Webb’s release, many argued that he had been outplayed by rookie sleeper pick Kyle Lauletta during the preseason. Giants fans will likely have their eyes on him, however, if he manages some playing time for any reason with the Jets.

It will be intriguing to see how the situation plays out, and whether or not Webb can find success when moving to a different team with a different coaching staff. Webb was highly rated by a lot of people coming out of college, after all, even if it seems like that was forever ago.

New York Giants Waive QB Davis Webb – Trade Rumors Were True

The New York Giants made several stunning moves over the weekend but none were as confusing as the waiving of second-year quarterback, Davis Webb.

Webb was inconsistent throughout the preseason but had the physical tools to become a solid quarterback with head coach Pat Shurmur at the helm. The Giants currently have three QBs remaining on the roster in Eli Manning, Kyle Lauletta, and Alex Tanney.

There were rumors of the Giants shopping Webb before roster cuts:

Rumors emerged before roster cuts that the New York Giants were looking to shop Davis Webb to another team. The Oakland Raiders were a landing destination that popped up frequently.

The release of Webb is truly interesting as he was a third-round pick from a year ago that turned some heads over the summer. Personally, this move makes little sense to me and should be questioned.

 

New York Giants: Where Does Davis Webb Stand After Two Games?

After two completed games, is Davis Webb the future quarterback that the New York Giants are looking for? He’ll likely have significant playing time in tonight’s game against the Jets, but before that happens, it’s time to look back at his performance against the Detroit Lions. It had a big contrast from his first game of the preseason.

Webb’s Performance Last Game

14 completions from 20 attempts, 140 yards, and one touchdown with no interceptions is what Webb finished the game with. But the stats only tell part of the story. A rather surface level version of it. It’s important to see just how Webb got those completions and yards, and a more detailed study of the tape gives mixed results.

On the good side, Webb’s deep arm is something that showed. Perhaps most notably when he made a 27 yard completion to Sterling Shepard, placing the ball by the sideline and leading Shepard to a completion by making sure that the pass landed right in front of him. There was decent pass coverage on that play. Good coverage, even, but Webb showed the ability to beat it.

That arm was a double edged sword in this game, though. There were also times when Webb tried to gun the ball into an area that was covered, resulting in a pass breakup at best and a chance for the other team to get an interception at the worst. At first, some of the completions seemed like they might be the result of slightly inaccurate passes.

But really, it looked like Webb could have used better decision making on some of them. His current style will fly in the preseason, but if Webb ends up in an actual regular season game for any reason, it would be smart for him to make more conservative choices and take less risks putting the ball into covered areas.

Webb only played the first half, with Kyle Lauletta coming in for the third quarter, but that half gave us some good insights. Unlike the first game, Webb looked more like an NFL player. Not perfect, but he flashed his arm strength and deep accuracy and showed awareness in the pocket, even if he looked a bit jumpy at times.

With a Teddy Bridgewater trade likely off the table because of Bridgewater’s one year deal with the New York Jets, it looks like the Giants will be stuck with Webb and Lauletta behind Eli Manning for better or for worse this year. And with one more good performance, this time against the Giants’ city rivals, it’s safe to say that Webb is expected to enter the season as the number two that is being groomed to eventually come in for Eli Manning.

What The Snoopy Bowl Means For Giants’ QB Davis Webb

The infamous Snoopy Bowl will go down on a late summer night between two rejuvenated New York teams. The Giants and Jets will continue the yearly showdown under the lights – one with a generational talent at running back and the other a potential franchise quarterback at the helm.

The Giants passed on Sam Darnold in favor of Saquon Barkley, but why? One could imagine it was because of Eli Manning , or because Davis Webb has looked good in practice. But in the end, it was likely due to the tangible and intangible qualities Barkley brings to the Giants. Dave Gettleman said it himself, he’s one of the most physically gifted athletes to enter the league in the past 30 years.

What kind of pressure does this put on Davis Webb, and did the Giants make the right choice?

After a porous week 1 performance from Webb where he amassed only 70 yards on nine completions (22 attempts), the Giants seemed to be in big trouble in regard to the future at quarterback. Just one week later, the young signal caller racked up 171 passing yards on 23-30 completions and a touchdown pass.

The narrative changed to good just as quick as it shifted to bad. Webb instilled confidence in his peers and the fan base, and after such a dismal performance in his first action in over a year, it was needed. Going into week 3 of the preseason presents a different type of challenge. While it’s just another preseason game, the Snoopy Bowl often creates a bit more buzz than most. The Jets have a young and talented roster while the Giants are still piecing together their team as a whole.

Webb will have the opportunity to play with the first team and show off his skills for a third-straight game. He has struggled with inconsistency in the past, but he can quiet his haters with a second consecutive positive showing.

Look for him to work on his accuracy and take some heat off of the ball. That was the difference from his week 1 to 2 performance. Additionally, expect him to see the field a bit better, locking in on Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard. He seems to have a decent rapport with backup RB Wayne Gallman as well.

The chemistry development is an important piece in Webb’s growth, which means the more reps the better.

New York Giants: What Changes Did Davis Webb Make In Week 2 Of The Preseason

Just last week a good chunk of the New York Giants fan based gave up hope on second-year quaterback Davis Webb. One bad performance in his first live action in over a year shouldn’t doom the youngster from the start.

In week two, he elevated his performance ten-fold, showing off his accuracy and touch on the ball. Specifically, a 3rd and 17 play from the Giants’ own half began with Webb dropping back into the pocket, working through his progressions, and throwing Sterling Shepard open to gain the first down.

The throw that Webb released wasn’t any normal ball, but rather a display of his development and vision as a signal caller. He effectively managed to put the ball in a perfect spot so that Shepard could break free and secure the catch.

What did Davis Webb change to ensure his week two performance was better for the New York Giants?

After the game against Detroit, Webb went on to explain his mentality going into the week. After not play a single down for over a year, his nerves certainly played a part in his dismal week 1 performance. He entered week 2 calm and collective, ready to take on the challenges of a first-team defense. You could visibly see him take some power off of his throws to prioritize accuracy.

Webb finished the night completing 14 of 20 passes for 140 yards and one touchdown. He led a 70 yard touchdown drive that included a 3rd and 17 conversion and a quarterback sneak on 4th down. That type of quarterback resilience has been absent from the Giants for quite some time.

While Webb may have silenced his critics for the time being, it’s important to recognize that it was only week 2 of the preseason and things could go either way for the young quarterback. But for now, we can confidently say that he will be the No.2 QB behind Eli Manning this season.

 

 

New York Giants: The Truth About Davis Webb Not Starting A Game In 2017

In 2017, New York Giants former head coach Ben McAdoo, yelled out to rookie quarterback Davis Webb, “Hey, the next three weeks, you’re in.” That simple statement marked the beginning of Webb’s professional career, and would have set the stage for him going into his sophomore season as Eli Manning’s backup.

Despite the vote of confidence in Webb by McAdoo, his coaching career came to an end before his third-round selection could ever walk out of the tunnel to start a regular season game. The cries from fans to give the rookie live-action went unnoticed, but that didn’t stop Webb from competing and improving every day.

What will 2018 look like for Davis Webb on the New York Giants?

With general manager Dave Gettleman re-building the team around Manning, Webb was put on the back-burners for at least one more season. His time to shine will again have to wait until either Eli retires or the organization elects to move on from the man who’s been a rock at the quarterback position since 2004.

In reality, the second-year signal caller might have to wait a total of three years before receiving his shot, but in the end, he will be prepared. This offseason, we have seen signs of greatness from Webb, with his accuracy and powerful arm.

In regard to McAdoo informing Webb he would start the final three games of the season, he stated:

“I was ready to rock ‘n’ roll, and I was excited. But at the same time, that was a rough day because Eli’s the best teammate I’ve ever had. So I was really hurting for him.”

When Manning was benched for Geno Smith in week 13, things seemed to fall apart at the seams, if they hadn’t already. A 214 consecutive games started streak was shattered and the entire fan base was betrayed by the actions of one coach. His decision was fatal, and it caused him to lose his job.

For Webb, he was left in limbo – a place where the new front-office personnel didn’t know his strengths and were cautious when evaluating him. The lack of game-film forced them to take a long, hard look at their options at quarterback and make the decision to either pass on the QB they wanted in the NFL draft, or take him anyway. Instead, they chose arguably the most dynamic running back to enter the league in years – Saquon Barkley.

The Giants may seem to be building the roster around Manning, but they are also giving Webb the tools he needs to succeed in the future. Having Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr., Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and a solid offensive line to help Webb adjust to being a starter in the NFL, will ultimately make the transition to starter much smoother.