Pat Shurmur is keeping his plans for Kyle Lauletta’s development under wraps. For now.
“We have all types of discussions behind the scenes,” Shurmur said Monday of talks with general manager Dave Gettleman and even co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch. “There are always conversations about what happened, where we’re going, short- and long-term plans. But I would never share that with anyone.”
The coach added: “I may never present those answers.”
The circle is so tight that even the principal player involved has been left in the dark. “I had no idea,” Lauletta said Monday when asked about his expectations when he was drafted by the Giants earlier this year. Then he chuckled. “And I still feel like I don’t know. But that’s OK.”
Whatever plan the Giants have for Lauletta in the final month — assuming there is one — appeared to take a big step forward Sunday when they named him the backup quarterback against the Bears.
Both Shurmur and Lauletta said the rookie got very little out of the experience. Lauletta said that other than taking some warm-up snaps in the pregame and knowing that he was an injury away from sprinting onto the field, there was very little difference. What it did, though, is reinforce the Giants’ sentiment of trust in Lauletta, letting him know that if they did need to turn to their backup quarterback — something they have rarely had to do during a game in Eli Manning’s career — they believe the rookie could handle it. It also indicates that he is ready to play.
“He had a long way to go. He came from a small program,” Shurmur said of the Richmond product. “He did enough things in the preseason to say he’s good enough to make our team, but we needed to see more from him in order to feel confident giving him a jersey. He’s done some things behind the scenes that have given us more of that confidence.”
Shurmur said Manning will start against the Redskins on Sunday and that there is a “good chance” Lauletta will be the backup. He also said he wants to try to win every game the Giants play. That’s really the tug-of-war they are faced with now — the desire to win pulling in one direction and the desire to see what they have in Lauletta in another.
Shurmur seems to be leaning toward the former. “If he’s active to play, and based on the way the game is going, for whatever reason I feel he gives us a better chance to win, then he’ll go in,” Shurmur said of Lauletta.
Asked what it would mean if that opportunity never arose, Shurmur said: “Then he’ll stand there and watch.”
Shurmur did concede, however, that if the Giants are mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, that could change his tilt. “Maybe we will at that time,” he said. “If we do, that’s a question and an answer for a different time.”
The Giants aren’t there. Yet.
In the meantime, Lauletta has been able to develop to the point of leapfrogging Alex Tanney as the No. 2. Before the Giants head into the offseason, it would be beneficial to have a firm understanding of where Lauletta stacks up against Manning. There’s really only one way to figure that out.
“You’ll only know that,” Shurmur said, “if and when Lauletta gets in a game.”
There are, Shurmur reminded everyone, various ways to get a rookie quarterback prepared to play.
There is the Patrick Mahomes method, in which the player sits for most of the first season, plays in the final meaningless game of the regular season and then is handed the reins to the franchise. That’s worked out pretty well in Kansas City.
There is the Aaron Rodgers method, in which a player doesn’t see the field for multiple years and then has to take over for a legend. That gave a Super Bowl and perennial MVP candidate to Green Bay.
There is the Sam Darnold method, throwing the kid out there as a day one starter. And the Eli Manning method, making a switch from a veteran place-holder in midseason on a team that still has a chance to make a playoff run.
And the Kyle Lauletta method?
Right now, it’s more “if” than “when.”