EAST RUTHERFORD. N.J. (AP) — Tommy DeVito didn’t put up great numbers against the Dallas Cowboys in becoming the first undrafted rookie to start at quarterback for the New York Giants in modern draft era.
His 14 of 27 performance for 86 yards came against one of the NFL’s top defenses in a 49-17 loss. While he threw two touchdowns, one came very late and the other was early in the second half with New York down 28-0.
The positive DeVito and the Giants (2-8) was that he learned, he was better than the week before when he replaced an injured Daniel Jones in the second quarter against Las Vegas and his confidence wasn’t shaken despite tweaking his left shoulder in the fourth quarter.
If there is one thing about DeVito, the 25-year-old is confident. That’s what he will bring to the Washington area Sunday when he leads Brian Daboll’s struggling offense against the Commanders.
DeVito, who grew up about 20 minutes from the Meadowlands, called his first start bittersweet.
“I felt better as the game went on,” he said. “In the second half I think the offense did a better job executing but it was too late at that point. But I think we ended off on a good note and we are carrying some of that energy going into practice this week.”
In reviewing his performance, DeVito was annoyed with his deep pass to Jalin Hyatt in the third quarter that DaRon Bland intercepted. Hyatt seemed to have a step on Malik Hooker, but Bland who had the deep coverage area, read it all the way.
DeVito said he was too aggressive and didn’t pick up Bland. It was a typical rookie mistake.
Daboll was quick to shoot down any thought of starting veteran Matt Barkley this week with Jones (ACL) out for the season and Tyrod Taylor (ribs) still on injured reserve. Daboll called DeVito a good young quarterback who is trying to improve.
“He’s done a good job,” Daboll said Wednesday. “Improving, he’s a young player, he’s a young quarterback so a lot of things you go through. We’ll see if we can get him better this week than he was last week.”
Receiver Darius Slayton loves DeVito’s attitude.
“He has great natural confidence, which gives you a leg up,” Slayton said. “Once you have that, it’s just time to go out there and put together positive plays and your confidence will grow.”
Tight end Lawrence Cager, who caught a 10-yard TD pass from DeVito, said he has more than confidence.
“The moment is not too big for him,” Cager said. “Sometimes, for some of these guys, it gets too big. I’m proud of him for that. He’s getting better every week. Everybody in this locker room sees it. It’s just credit to him what he’s embraced, the challenge he’s been given. I just think he’d keep getting better.”
Through it all DeVito keeps smiling. He laughed about the reaction his father, Tom, showed on the big screen in Dallas after the Cowboys stopped Saquon Barkley for no gain on a fourth-and-2 from the Dallas 4 with New York down 7-0 in the second quarter.
He still grins about the publicity he is getting because he lives at home and his love of thin-sliced, crispy chicken parmesan sandwiches.
What hasn’t changed for DeVito is the game.
“There’s a lot of negativities going on with how our season has been going,” he said. “Just enjoy it, you’re in the NFL, you’re, whatever it is, below 1 percent. Just enjoy the moment, be here, enjoy playing football for your job and just go out and give it all you have.”
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