CINCINNATI (AP) Ryan Nassib was 14 years old the last time Eli Manning didn't start a game at quarterback for New York. That was 11 years ago, Manning's rookie season and Tom Coughlin's first year as the Giants' head coach.
Manning's streak of 167 consecutive starts leaves the Giants in a perpetual state of asking ''What if?'' when it comes to the health of their quarterback position. They know what they have in Manning. They think they know what they have in Nassib, now in his third year as Manning's backup.
Two days of practices with the Cincinnati Bengals and then the preseason opener on Friday night at Paul Brown Stadium is the next step in figuring it out. Manning is expected to start Friday night, but he and the first unit won't play long before turning things over to Nassib and third-stringer Ricky Stanzi.
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''They're pretty important,'' Nassib said about this week's workouts and game in Cincinnati. ''It's going to be a big evaluation tool for our coaching staff, but really I have to go out there and prepare like it's any other opponent.
''We're going to make mistakes. Some things aren't going to go our way but coming out here and practicing with another team, you have to learn from it and you pick up on it.''
Nassib appeared in four games last season. All five of his pass attempts came in a 27-0 loss at Philadelphia on Oct. 12. He completed four of those attempts for 60 yards. His other appearances came late in games that were already decided and all he needed to do was hand the ball off or take a knee.
The Giants selected Nassib in the fourth round of the 2013 draft out of Syracuse where he had been a three-year starter. They traded with Arizona, moving six spots up to ensure they could take Nassib. He was inactive all 16 games as a rookie.
''For his development, yeah, this is where he takes that next step,'' said Coughlin. ''He's got to move the ball, control the offense (and) put points on the board.''
The Giants are in their second year under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who has implemented an up-tempo style Nassib believes fits his style. As much time as he's gotten to watch Manning, it's hard not to pick up a trick or two.
''I've picked up a lot, from how to prepare, from how to perform. I try to be a sponge around him just because he's been around so long and he's seen almost everything and done almost everything,'' said Nassib. ''He's won the Super Bowl. He's been on good teams, he's been on teams where they didn't have such great years and then ended up bouncing back. He's experienced a lot and I try to take in as much as I can.''
Notes: Coughlin had no comment on the incident that left New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith with a broken jaw. ''It's a disappointing and sad thing. That's all I can tell you.'' . Manning was pleased with the work his receivers got against Cincinnati's defensive backs during individual, seven-on-seven and full team drills. Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick intercepted one of Manning's passes, but he had his share of completions as well. ... WR Victor Cruz and CB Prince Amukamara made the trip to Cincinnati but did not participate in the team workouts.
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