PFF's Rather Surprising Ranking for Giants Backup Quarterback Situation

Jackson Thompson

The Giants were spoiled over the last 16 years by the unsurpassed durability of quarterback Eli Manning and never had to put too much thought into their backup quarterback situation.

Now that Manning is retired, the Giants are hoping Daniel Jones, who missed two games with a high ankle sprain as a rookie, can put that behind him and come close to replicating Manning's iron-man streak.

In the event he can't, the Giants made sure to devote resources to the backup quarterback spot. They signed veteran Colt McCoy from Washington and acquired 26-year-old Cooper Rush off waivers from Dallas this offseason as potential security blankets.

The Giants also have Alex Tanney, the Giants' third-stringer from last year, and undrafted rookie Case Cookus out of Northern Arizona round out the quarterback room behind Jones.

That mix of potential backups has earned the Giants backup quarterbacks an 18th place ranking, per Pro Football Focus, and a spot in a tier they've labeled. "Need A Few Drinks To Talk Yourself Into Believing" tier.

Here is what PFF had to say about the Giants backup depth at quarterback.

McCoy seems destined to stick around the NFL until he’s good and ready to retire. The 10-year veteran hasn’t won a start since 2014, although he’s the type of solid-enough QB with an A+ name to continue to rack up checks deep into his 30s. Neither Rush nor Tanney has a career start to his name, while the former Northern Arizona QB Cookus is unlikely to make the final roster. I wouldn’t count on new Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett enabling either McCoy or his youngsters too much of a ceiling (or floor) if Daniel Jones is forced to miss much time.

While head coach Joe Judge has insisted that the depth charts are nowhere near being set, the expectation for the Giants is that McCoy will be Jones' primary backup given his ten years of experience as both a starter (for the Browns) and as a backup, the last six of which he's spent in Washington.

McCoy has started seven games for Washington since 2014 and is 1-6 in those games throwing for five touchdowns and six interceptions with an average passer rating of 83.2. McCoy has also received playing time for Washington in four games, throwing three touchdowns to no interceptions.

Statistically, McCoy has performed better than a couple of top backups on units ranked ahead of the Giants since 2014. These include Matt Schaub of the Atlanta Falcons and Geno Smith (a backup Giants fans are familiar with for all the wrong reasons) on the Seattle Seahawks.

Granted, the sample sizes of backup quarterbacks are challenging to compare, considering how infrequently they see the field. Still, McCoy boasts the most playing time of all the quarterbacks listed with better stat lines, albeit in fewer appearances.

PFF has also given the benefit of the doubt to several talented rookies set to be backups to start the season, including Jordan Love, Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, and Justin Herbert, who have never taken an NFL snap, as better options than McCoy. Yet PFF still faults the remainder of the Giants' quarterback group for never making an NFL start.

That's not to say that those rookies are not better quarterbacks than McCoy from a talent perspective. However, they are projected as future starters, while McCoy has settled into a backup role.

Conversely, PFF also ranked a backup quarterback unit with a player that has statistically performed better than McCoy beneath the Giants in Mike Glennon of the Jaguars, who boasts a career 36 to 20 touchdown to interception ratio.

Whether these rankings prove to be accurate is the worst-case scenario for most NFL teams, including the Giants. As for McCoy, say whatever you want for iBut while McCoy may not provide the best option as a player, his presence as a mentor for Jones with offensive experience within the NFC East transcends PFF's ranking.

The best contributions the Giants are hoping for from McCoy in 2020 will be from the sidelines and in the film room, where he exceeds several other quarterbacks ranked above and beneath him. 

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Comments (1)
No. 1-1

If Mike Glennon had been playing for the Browns & Redskins when McCoy was, his stats would be different. That Browns team had the worst offensive line I've ever seen & the Redskins were about as bad in McCoy's first few years in DC. Stats don't fairly reflect McCoy's career. And as you said, his real value will be from the sidelines & in the film room. Best thing the Giants could have done for Jones.