EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- This would be a different story if the Giants had drafted Sam Darnold. Or even if they had drafted Josh Rosen or Josh Allen. Because if they had drafted a quarterback second overall back in April this would absolutely be the time to look to the future and bench Eli Manning.
But not when the next in line is Kyle Lauletta.
And not now.
That's just not the answer to the Giants problems, especially since there really isn't an answer right now. They are 1-7. Their season is over. Nothing -- not even a quarterback switch -- is going to change that.
The only thing a quarterback switch does is give the Giants a head start on their future, a chance to look at the young quarterback they drafted out of Richmond in the fourth round. And that's a perfectly valid reason to make the switch under normal circumstances.
But what makes anyone think the Giants can get a true and fair look right now at Lauletta? He's not a top prospect who played big-time college football. He was a developmental pick, taken out of a small program. The Giants liked what they saw, thought he had a chance to develop eventually.
He wasn't drafted because they thought he could play right away. And if he's suddenly thrust into the starting job now, what makes anyone think he has any chance to succeed, grow or develop? How is he going to learn anything if he's suddenly tossed into the middle of this offense mess?
It's hard to imagine Giants coach Pat Shurmur is really considering that move during his team's much-needed bye week. But he did leave that door ajar after Sunday's 20-13 loss to the Washington Redskins. Asked if he was considering a quarterback change, he was decidedly noncommittal.
"No, I don't want to go there," he said. "I'm not going to tease that. I just want to look at everything and see what we have to do moving forward."
In other words: Maybe it's a possibility, or maybe he just didn't want to create a headline by answering the question (which, of course, his non-answer surely will).
Whatever his true intention was, it has become incredibly fashionable to blame this season on Manning, the Giants' 37-year-old quarterback. It's pretty easy to do it, too. He's certainly not without fault. This isn't his finest season. He was even responsible for a couple of the seven sacks he took on Sunday afternoon.
Of course, he took that beating because his offensive line was bad again (he's been sacked 31 times this season) and his overhyped weapons weren't open on most of those plays. So why does anyone think things will suddenly change if Lauletta, exactly one year removed from losing at home to Stony Brook University, takes over? Does that sound realistic at all?
He's eight games into his NFL career, all of which have been spent running the scout team as the third-string quarterback. Maybe he'll have a better shot at scrambling out of trouble, but he's certainly not going to be able to make quicker decisions than Manning. Lauletta's mere presence isn't going to open up holes in the line for Saquon Barkley that haven't been there at all. He won't make Sterling Shepard not drop to pass placed right in his hands deep down the field as he did on Sunday, nor can he make Evan Engram not let a fourth-down, fourth-quarter pass go literally right through his fingers.
In other words, the help isn't there. The tools aren't there. Ideally, teams that are developing young quarterbacks want them to be surrounded with people who could help them succeed. They want to make sure they have a chance.
Outside of Odell Beckham Jr. and Barkley (as a receiver only, of course), who exactly is going to help Lauletta?
The Giants do not currently have a recipe for success, and the quarterback sure isn't the missing ingredient. Throwing a young quarterback into this circus isn't any way to get him used to playing in the NFL. Submitting him to eight games with this team would be basically torture, not to mention a colossal waste of time.
That said, the Giants have to do it at some point. They owe it to themselves to get a look at the kid they drafted, to give him a little taste of NFL action just in case he has a shot to be their quarterback next year. They can't make the same, unforgivable mistake they made last season when they failed to even get a look at Davis Webb before heading into the draft.
Chances are the Giants will be drafting high enough anyway that they'll be able to find a franchise quarterback. But the smart play is to head into that decision having some idea of what they've already got.
Just not yet. Don't give the veterans on this team a chance to completely give up, to spend the second half into a spiral worse than anything this franchise has ever seen. Let Manning be the one to hold the sinking ship together until they're mathematically eliminated -- or at least through Thanksgiving. Then maybe take a look at the kid over the final few games.
But now? Well, remember, if you think things can't get worse, they usually always can. While that may not matter to this team at this moment in this trainwreck of a season, it could be a big deal for Lauletta. Just in case he is the future, they don't want to leave him shellshocked, or to have him take a beating that strips away whatever confidence he has left.
After all, that sure looks like what this lousy team has done to Manning in his 15th season. If he can be dragged down by the lack of support from his miserable supporting cast, imagine what could happen to a 22-year-old kid whose last big wins came against Villanova and William & Mary when he his thrown into an NFL regular-season game for the very first time.