Coming out of the bye week, there was speculation that the Giants may switch direction in a 1-7 season, and experiment with rookie QB Kyle Lauletta in place of veteran QB Eli Manning.
But head coach Pat Shurmur made it known on Tuesday that Manning will be the starter on Monday night when they face the 49ers this week.
However, Shurmur would not commit beyond Monday night.
“I spoke to Eli a couple times this weekend and I explained to Eli that he’s going to start Monday,” Shurmur said. “I also explained to Eli that everybody needs to play better and as we go through this, it’s important that we’re not ‘almost’ in these games, we do what we have to do to get it over the top and win football games. We’ll just take it from there. But I spoke to the team about that, and then I also spoke to Eli about that specifically.”
Lauletta didn’t help his cause to a potential start when he was arrested last week following a traffic violation. Shurmur said he wasn’t suspended, but was “disappointed” in Lauletta for what happened.
“Well, I’m disappointed because I think especially with a quarterback, you’re looking at decision-making in all facets of a player’s life,” when asked if the arrest hurt his chances of playing. “He’s back to work, that will take care of itself. We’ve kind of stated what we feel about that, but he’s back to work trying to get himself ready to play.”
Lauletta may still get that chance to play depending on how Manning performs, as Shurmur said everyone has to play better. The Giants also don’t want to repeat their mistake that came in the case of Davis Webb last season. A draft pick was essentially wasted because Webb didn’t play a regular-season snap when he had the chance. Instead, Geno Smith started in place of a benched Manning in Oakland.
There is a man in between Manning and Lauletta by the name of Alex Tanney. A journeyman, Tanney has been Manning’s backup all season, and Shurmur says there is still a chance to see him play.
“Absolutely,” Shurmur said. “It goes without saying, we’ve had him as number two throughout. We just don’t stack them up willy-nilly. Based on when we started this, Eli’s starting and Alex has been the backup.
In Lauletta’s case, Shurmur doesn’t want to throw him to the wolves.
“Again, when you bring in rookie quarterbacks, there is a process they have to go through to develop and some guys have to develop further than others.,” he explained. “Once the world quits seeing the training camp practices, that continues and guys pick up things at different paces. You can look at all the first round draft pick quarterbacks – Donovan McNabb didn’t start until Week 8, and he was a first-round pick. Some of these other guys have started right away and they were picked higher, and so I don’t know what the world is expecting, we’re just trying to get him as good as he can be so that when he goes in there he has success.”
That time may never come for either quarterback, though. If the Giants miraculously start going on a win streak with Manning under center, there likely won’t be any changes.
But, if things continue they way they have for the Giants on Monday, Shurmur may have to make a change moving forward. For now, the 37-year-old will continue to drop back for Big Blue.
“I told you, he is starting Monday. You roll with it how you want, with the idea that he’s going to get us on a run here and there will be no decisions to be made,” Shurmur said. “In other words, part of the conversation was, we trust you, we want to work with you, and we trust the fact that you’re going to get in there and help us win football games.