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 backup to Eli Manning as the Giants beat the Bears 30-27 in overtime 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 clear indication if the Giants move away from Manning in the final month of this season, it will be Lauletta getting the snaps at quarterback.
“Behind the scenes he’s done a good job,’’ coach Pat Shurmur said. “He’s making progress here during the season and it’s just the next step for him.’’
Last Monday, this pecking order was brought up to 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 career regular-season game. If anything happened to Manning during the course of a game, Tanney was more ready to step in and run the offense than Lauletta. 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.
“Excited to put on the uniform, I’ve been wanting to all season,’’ Lauletta said. “It’s a good feeling. I don’t know what will happen from here. I’m just gonna keep preparing and get as ready as I can each week in case I have to go into the game.’’
WR Sterling Shepard took a heavy hit in the second quarter going low trying to scoop up a pass and came away with a ribs injury. Shepard was able to return and came up with a 9-yard catch for a first down in the fourth quarter. … LB Tae Davis, a starter with B.J. Goodson (neck) inactive, was forced out in the second quarter with an ankle injury. … Safety Landon Collins came out with a shoulder issue. “It’s really sore,’’ he said.
Rookie DT B.J. Hill had a breakout game with three sacks. Olivier Vernon , with only one sack in his first six games, had two sacks and one forced fumble.
CB B.W. Webb did not at all agree with a pass interference penalty called on him with three seconds remaining in regulation on a pass he saw as uncatchable. Webb got no explanation from the official.
“He didn’t say s–t to me, not a word,’’ Webb said. “He just told me to walk away so that’s what I did. If I was the ref I wouldn’t have threw it.’’
Shurmur was not happy with the way his offensive line’s matchup with the Bears’ defensive front was portrayed leading into the game.
“I was fielding questions and based on what everybody was asking, we were going to cancel the game,’’ Shurmur said.