New York Giants Kyle Lauletta
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The New York Giants are off to another poor start, but unlike last season, they’ll make sure their rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta plays.

Jason Leach

Despite making wholesale changes to the roster, the New York Giants find themselves in the same place they were a year ago at 1-6 and heading towards having a top-five pick in the draft.

Ownership and head coach Pat Shurmur won’t admit this publicly, but It’s apparent that the Giants nine remaining games is not about wins and losses, but trying to build for the future. The team is clearly in rebuilding mode.

This is why they traded their 2016 first round draft pick Eli Apple, and nose tackle Damon Harrison within the last 48 hours. With less than a week until the NFL trade deadline (Oct. 30) the Giants will try to keep exploring avenues for trades.

Acquiring draft picks and putting those picks in position to perform at a high level is the essence of building a team. This is why the Giants, unlike last year, need to start preparing their rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta to play in his first NFL game.

The Giants took Lauletta in the fourth round (108th overall) out of Richmond in a surprising move since the Giants took Davis Webb the previous year in the third round, and it seemed Webb would get the first crack at being Eli Manning’s successor despite not taking a snap in his rookie season.

But in an even more surprising move, the Giants waived Webb prior to the start of the regular season leaving Lauletta and 30-year-old Alex Tanney as Manning’s backups.

Lauletta has yet to be active for a game, but that will change soon as the Giants continue to free fall, and Manning continues to regress. The Giants can’t afford to do what they did last season by mismanaging their quarterback position and never seeing what their rookie quarterback can do.

Is Lauletta the long-term quarterback solution for the Giants? Logic would say no as there are only a few quarterbacks taken in the mid or late rounds that have proven to be franchise quarterbacks. These are your guys like Tom Brady and Russell Wilson, but they are not the norm with mid to late draft picks.

But the franchise owes it to themselves and their fans to see what Lauletta can do before they close the book on him without ever reading a page.

The question is when will he get his first chance to see the field? It won’t be this week against the first place Washington Redskins and their defense which is giving up just 325 yards a game — good for fifth best in the league.

But following the Redskins game, the Giants have a bye and that’s when they’ll have time to properly prepare Lauletta.

Although Shurmur said Manning would be his quarterback following the bye week, he left the window open for change.

“Yes, I do. I think Eli will be our quarterback. He has been, and he’ll continue to be here.”

Following the bye week, the Giants have a road game against the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 12. You would think that Lauletta would at least be active for the game and be ready to come in if the game got out of hand.

But the more ideal scenario would be to let Lauletta see his first game action when the Giants return home to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov.18. Playing Lauletta would give Giants’ fans something to be optimistic about, and could possibly give the team a boost.

Eli Manning is a Giants icon and deserves to have his number retired and a statue outside MetLife Stadium. But it’s time to move on from him, and to see what the 22-year-old Lauletta can do.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.