EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Tommy DeVito is still living in the low-rent district of the New York Giants' locker room.
It's an area in the middle of the room where temporary lockers have been set up for the 16 players on the practice squad and others on injured reserve working with the training staff. The lockers are a little smaller than the permanent ones that surround the room, and they don't have lock cabinets for valuables.
It's not a place where one would expect to find the starting quarterback for the Giants (2-7) for Sunday's game against the Cowboys (5-2) in Dallas.
When DeVito, an undrafted free agent out of Illinois, was elevated from the practice squad last week after backup Tyrod Taylor (ribs) went on injured reserve, he didn't take one of the permanent lockers. He was comfortable where he was.
And with Daniel Jones now out for the season with an ACL injury, the 25-year-old from New Jersey is content to remain humble. He jokes that he will stay there until he moves out of his home. Yeah, he still lives in Essex County with his family.
“I get clean sheets, home-cooked meals and my wash gets done,” DeVito quipped Friday after taking part in his final practice before his first NFL start on Sunday.
He will become the 10th rookie to start an NFL game this season, the most starting rookie QBs since stats began being tracked in 1950.
DeVito said this week has actually been easier to handle because he has been getting the vast majority of the first-team reps, and he is developing a rapport with the receivers and the rest of the offense. He said the game itself is the same one he has played as a kid and then in high school and college at Syracuse and Illinois.
“I think that’s the thing I tried to bring to the guys in practice, just to have fun,” DeVito said. "Things have not obviously gone the way we wanted them to go. You know we can’t control the past. Let’s enjoy it. You’re in the NFL, you’re in the 1% or even lower than 1%. Enjoy your time while you’re here. So just try to have fun with it”
DeVito was 15 of 20 for 175 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions against the Raiders in a 30-6 loss Sunday after replacing Jones early in the second quarter.
“I’ve seen the same guy that got here on day one, and he’s got a lot of confidence in a very good way,” quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney said Friday of the guy he saw in OTAs, minicamps and training camp. “He’s got a good way with the guys in terms of talking to him, telling them what he sees, how he sees certain coverage is how he sees certain routes. It's really a guy who just goes out there and has fun. He likes to play ball, loves being on the field.”
Tierney described DeVito as accurate, good in the pocket and someone who sees the field well.
He has a confidence that borders on cockiness.
“He just knows who he is. He is authentic, he’s genuine,” Tierney said.
With offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and Tierney spending most of their time with Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor in training camp and the regular season, head coach Brian Daboll took a lot of time to talk to DeVito about football, formations, motion, defensive pressure indictors and other things.
Daboll said he and DeVito even watched Jones and Taylor practicing and exchanged thoughts.
Daboll has worked with a lot of young quarterbacks in his career. Josh Allen of the Bills was the most successful. He also worked with Colt McCoy in his rookie season with the Browns while a quarterbacks coach. Daboll said every quarterback is different, and the starting point is always communication.
Some quarterbacks like to hear a lot of stuff from the coach in their headsets, Daboll said. Others just want a play call or a number. Some want little reminders before each play. What's the backdoor route. What's the down and distance. He would not say what DeVito's preferences are.
DeVito has done everything to prepare, Daboll said, adding his young quarterback will be playing the same game he has always played.
“Yeah. Just playing a damn good opponent,” Daboll said.
The Cowboys beat the Giants 40-0 in the season opener, recording seven sacks and 12 quarterback hits.
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