EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Deonte Banks will be to the Giants' defense Sunday what Tommy DeVito is to the offense – the rookie in the spotlight and on the spot.
With Adoree' Jackson sidelined with a concussion and neck injury, Banks will likely spend most of his afternoon covering wide receiver CeeDee Lamb when the Giants and Dallas Cowboys clash in AT&T Stadium. Banks, the cornerback selected in the first round by the Giants in the 2023 NFL Draft, has covered many top receivers in his debut season. But shadowing Lamb at this juncture of the season is, well…
"A test would be an understatement for what we're all going to face," defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson said today. "But we will not back down. We'll go challenge them and go play and play aggressive and play the way we play and see what happens."
Lamb has played as well as any NFL receiver in his last three games. He leads the NFL with 466 receiving yards since Week 6 – despite the Cowboys having their bye during that span. He has three consecutive 100+-yard games and is the fourth player in Dallas history to have 450+ receiving yards in a three-game span. Lamb has set new career-highs in receiving yards in each of the last two weeks (158 on 12 catches with two touchdowns against the Rams and 191 yards on 11 receptions last Sunday at Philadelphia). That's 23 catches for 349 yards in two games.
"He went for 191 last week against a really good defense," Henderson said. "Anybody who goes up against the kid is, I mean, he's playing at a high, high level and I watched the tape. He's as competitive and as productive as anybody we've played this year, and again we will have our hands absolutely full with him and the rest of their passing game."
That doesn't scare the confident Banks.
"I'm trying to be on the top receiver every week," Banks said. "That's what I like to do. CeeDee has been playing at a real high level and he has been getting a lot of targets (30 in two weeks) and catching the ball a lot. He is real productive right now."
As is quarterback Dak Prescott, whose numbers the last two games include a 72% completion rate, 680 passing yards, seven touchdowns, and just one interception.
"Dak is doing a phenomenal job of getting the ball out quick, being accurate," Henderson said.
Banks has covered several excellent receivers, including Davante Adams, Garrett Wilson and Jaylen Waddle.
"They are all really explosive and know how to run routes and know how to go get the ball," Banks said. "CeeDee gets a lot of reps in the slot. He runs a lot of different stuff, so you get a lot of different pictures."
In the teams' first meeting two months ago, Lamb caught four passes for 77 yards. Banks played just 25 snaps in that game, compared to 51 for Jackson, who primarily traveled with Lamb. Now, it's Banks' turn.
"I came a big way (since then) because it was my first NFL game," Banks said. "Just my awareness of what's going on, how I look at what I'm playing real freely."
And he has a clear-eyed focus on Sunday.
"It's a divisional game on the road," Banks said. "Let's go get a win."
View rare photos from the historic rivalry between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
*Coach Brian Daboll said DeVito has done everything possible to make his NFL starting debut a success.
"The biggest thing that he's done is he's done everything he can do to put himself in a good position in terms of his preparation, reviewing the game plan, meeting extra with (quarterbacks coach) Shea (Tierney) and (offensive coordinator Mike) Kaf(ka)," Daboll said. "Coming out here and practicing well and just controlling the things that he can do and doing his job well.
"I think he's done a good job of doing everything he can do up to this point of preparing the right way, both in the classroom, extra and then on the field."
DeVito and Tierney have spent many hours together this week.
"I've seen the same guy that got here on day one and that he's got a lot of confidence in a very good way," Tierney said. "He's got a good way with the guys in terms of talking to them, telling them what he sees, how he sees certain coverages, how he sees certain routes and really a guy who just goes out there and has fun. He likes to play ball and he loves being on the field. It's been enjoyable to watch it."
*In addition to Adoree' Jackson, tackle Evan Neal (ankle) and running back Deon Jackson (concussion) have been declared out of the game.
Four players are questionable: linebacker Azeez Ojulari (ankle), wide receiver Parris Campbell (hamstring), running back Jashaun Corbin (hamstring) and guard Mark Glowinski (personal matter).