The first step had to be taken and it was on Sunday, as rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta was active for the first time this season, serving as the backup to Eli Manning as the Giants took on the Bears at MetLife Stadium.
For the first 11 games, journeyman Alex Tanney was in uniform and active but never played. Lauletta, a fourth-round draft pick from Richmond, wore Giants-issued clothing and stood on the sideline during games. This move is a clear indication that if the Giants move away from Manning in the final month of this season, it will be Lauletta getting the snaps at quarterback.
Last Monday, this pecking order was brought up to coach Pat Shurmur when he was asked when Lauletta might get his chance. Shurmur said, “Why are you jumping over Tanney?” Asked if Tanney might be viewed a potential long-term solution at quarterback, Shurmur said: “Who knows? That’s where you’re getting bogged down here. Who knows?’’
This was a case of Shurmur publicly sticking up for one of his players, even though the truth of the situation is a different scenario.
Tanney was the backup because the 31-year-old has kicked around the NFL for several years, even though he only appeared in one regular-season game. If anything happened to Manning during the course of a game, Tanney was more ready to step in to run the offense than Lauletta. Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, though, Tanney is not part of the future. The Giants do not know where Lauletta fits, and they would like to not repeat the same mistake the previous regime made by not getting Davis Webb into any games down the stretch of a lost 3-13 season.
Tanney was inactive for Sunday’s game.