While it might not have been thought possible, things have gone from bad to worse for the New York Giants and veteran quarterback Eli Manning.
A 20-13 Week 8 loss to the Washington Redskins have dropped the Giants to 1-7 on the season as the franchise seemingly plays out the remainder of the 2018 schedule before sweeping changes come down through the locker room.
Among the most highly anticipated is the eventual benching and even departure of Manning, who completed 30-of-47 passes for 316 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Most notably, he was sacked seven times by the Redskins defense, a combination of a horrendous offensive line and his lack of mobility combining to doom the Giants offense to another sub-20-point effort. It’s already the fifth time this season that the Giants have not been able to score 20 or more points and it all comes down to the inept passing game.
Waiting in the wings in rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta, a University of Richmond product who was named Senior Bowl MVP, who could at least offer a different look under center for the Giants.
He’s far more mobile than Manning and the move could spark a bit more fight in an offense that has done its fair share of rolling over this year.
Head coach Pat Shurmur, whose play calling hasn’t necessarily helped Manning and Co. much either, did allude to the slight possibility of Lauletta stepping in for the 37-year-old after the team’s bye week.
“No, I don’t want to go there,” Shurmur said. “I’m not going to tease that. I just want to look at everything and see what we have to do moving forward.”
Getting Lauletta suited up and in an actual game come Week 10 would provide the Giants with an extended look at what they have in the rookie. If it becomes overwhelmingly obvious that he is unable to show the poise and skill set needed to succeed in the NFL, management could focus on acquiring a franchise quarterback this offseason whether it’s on the market or at the draft.
Is it a good idea to play Kyle Lauletta over Eli Manning?
The problem with thrusting Lauletta into the starting role is that he is still going to be facing the same problems Manning has seen over the last two years.
For a rookie who has never seen regular-season game action, Lauletta will be facing merciless pass rushes that provide a constant pressure in his face. Through just eight games this year, Manning has been sacked 31 times. He was sacked 31 times all of last year and is on pace to see his previous record of 39 sacks get crushed in 2018.
While Lauletta might be able to extend the play, throwing an inexperienced arm into that kind of situation is not only unfair, but it could shell shock the 22-year-old. There is no way the Giants could get a legitimate read on what they have if he is unable to get any time in the pocket and show off his arm.
So it might be logical just to let Manning play out the majority of the second half of the season and only turn to Lauletta in the final few games. If the organization sees something promising in him, they can spend the offseason overhauling the offensive line in hopes that the offense can become a threat once more.