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Cole Beasley still embraces undrafted mindset


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants' leading receiver last night in their preseason opener in Detroit is a 34-year-old, 12-year veteran who has played in 166 regular season and postseason games.

Their top passer in the 21-16 loss to the Lions turned 25 on Monday and played in first NFL game.

Despite their differences in age and experience, a connection exists between veteran wideout Cole Beasley and rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito. That was evident when they were first on the field together; Beasley caught DeVito's first three passes for gains totaling 35 yards.

Both players entered the NFL on the lowest rung of the player acquisition hierarchy, as rookie free agents, Beasley way back in 2012 and DeVito not so far back in May. Beasley's 556 receptions are the eighth-highest total by an undrafted player in NFL history. But like DeVito, he is fighting for a roster spot. The undersized – 5-8 and 174 pounds – receiver who went undrafted still fights for everything, which is why on a night many Giants veterans watched from the sideline, Beasley played 10 snaps. He finished with four receptions (including one from Tyrod Taylor), a high preseason total for a player of his stature.

"It's been a long time," Beasley said. "I don't really remember the last time (he had four catches in a preseason game), but it felt good to be out there and get a chance to make a few plays. Either way, getting to play football at any time is a good feeling.

"I mean football is what I do, man. You know, getting out there and getting that opportunity and getting to show that I can still do it, it's still a good time for me and I enjoy the time in between the whistles."

Beasley was impressed with the much younger and vastly less experienced quarterback who threw him the footballs.

"He did a good job," Beasley said. "There was never a time where I thought that he should've got it out sooner. I wasn't waiting on it. He was spinning it and he was getting it there fast. That's all you can ask from a quarterback and it's on routes where I can go multiple directions, so he was on it. He was seeing the same thing I was. He did a really good job.

"He was very poised out there. It showed a lot about who he is as a player and personality wise. That's something that you love to see out of a young quarterback."

View photos from the Giants' preseason opener against the Lions in Detroit.

DeVito had modest goals entering the game.

"Just to have fun, honestly," he said. "Obviously, there are a lot of external things like pressure, first NFL game, it's not official, it's a preseason game. Now it's just really playing the game of football. I've been playing since I'm five, six years old. I'm enjoying it. Just help lead the team, move the ball, I wasn't really thinking about it. Just enjoy it one play at a time and go from there."

Despite absorbing five sacks and facing pressure from the Detroit defense virtually every time he touched the ball, DeVito completed 15 of 24 passes for 155 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown to tight end Tommy Sweeney, his former teammate at Don Bosco Prep in nearby Ramsey, N.J.

"I think it turned out well at times," DeVito said. "There were a lot of things to clean up, a couple throws that I missed that will haunt me tonight, that I'll be sitting up thinking about. But I think it's just a step in the right direction."

When DeVito would return to the sideline he conferred with his veteran mentors, Daniel Jones, who like most starters did not play, and Taylor.

"Just going back and picking their brains as to what they saw, what can I do here, what can I do better," DeVito said. "Just small things in that detail just looking at the tablet and they helped me a lot throughout the game."

Though it was played 12 years ago, Taylor said he recalled his first preseason game. And he was impressed with how DeVito handled his debut.

"He played well," Taylor said. "He did a good job of getting different guys to rally behind him and operated well. I think as a whole we could have been a little better execution wise. But he did a great job for it being his first game.

"Obviously, the game is a little faster at this level. It's good we got a chance to practice against them for two days this week, being a little familiar with their defense, a little familiar with their scheme. I think he handled the circumstances well. He went out there and played with great energy, great effort. I think overall he did a great job."

What it all means for DeVito's job prospects is unknown. Jones and Taylor will be the Giants' top two quarterbacks as they were last season, when No. 3 Davis Webb spent most of the season on the practice squad. That remains a possibility for DeVito, but he is hardly obsessing about it. That was clear when he was asked what he wants to accomplish in his first pro training camp.

"Honestly, I don't know what the future holds for that," he said. "But for me it was just showing improvement day-by-day and week-by-week and obviously game-by-game. It was the first preseason game, so when I look at the film, the next preseason game, I want to be able to take that leap and really just see what I did wrong and what little things I can clean up, ball placement on some things. Even if it might've been completions, it could've been better and gotten a couple more yards. At the end of training camp, show the growth that I've made from the time that I walked in the door."

*On his Zoom news conference Saturday, coach Brian Daboll said he will wait until his next meeting with reporters to provide updates on injured players. Wide receiver Collin Johnson (knee) and cornerback Cor'Dale Flott (abdominal) were injured in the game and right tackle Evan Neal (concussion), running back Gary Brightwell and defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches were among those among those who did not play because of injury.

"I'd say those are all kind of all up in the air, they're getting looked at by the doctors now," Daboll said. "Relative to where we are with all those, I'll have better clarity for you guys on Monday."

*Daboll's overview of the game after watching the tape:

"I'd say there was a lot of good examples of how we want to play – physically, communication wise, team wise and then for the first preseason game, there's always a lot to clean up," he said. "That's where the coaches are right now is – to meet with their respective sides. Again, I know it was asked yesterday but I thought our young guys, our corners (Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III) and our center (John Michael Schmitz Jr.), I thought they showed well in the game for us. Played with confidence, did their job, so it was good to see those young guys out there playing. They played at a fairly high level."

*A social media frenzy erupted after television cameras caught Daboll glaring at special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey following a 95-yard punt return touchdown by Detroit's Maurice Alexander. Daboll basically said there's nothing to see here.

"Non-issue," he said. "I'm a competitive guy, we're all competitive, we're in a competitive environment. I hold everybody, not just T-Mac, myself, and everybody else, to a high standard. Love T-Mac."


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