EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – He might not play a down this season or even make the 53-man roster, but quarterback Tommy DeVito continues to receive favorable reviews from his performance in the Giants' preseason opener.
The rookie free agent quarterback from Don Bosco Prep and the University of Illinois played 51 of the team's 59 offensive snaps after relieving Tyrod Taylor on the third offensive series. Despite being confronted with pass rushers almost every time he dropped back -- he was sacked five times -- DeVito completed 15 of 24 passes for 155 yards, including a 14-yard pass to his high school teammate, tight end Tommy Sweeney.
"I thought he did a really nice job in there," offensive coordinator Mike Kafka said today. "Gutsy, played tough, I think he did all the things we asked him to do from an execution standpoint. He's growing each and every day."
"I thought he did well," said starting quarterback Daniel Jones, who did not play in the game. "I think anytime your first game out there in live action and operating, trying to get everyone on the same page and executing on offense can be tough, but I thought he did a really good job kind of handling it all. He was composed and made a lot of good decisions, a lot of good plays. He's been practicing well, playing really well in practice too. I thought it was impressive."
Kafka was asked if the Lions' persistent pass rush helped him evaluate DeVito's capabilities.
"I'd probably say we're looking to eliminate that pressure off the quarterback," Kafka said. "We certainly don't want the quarterback having to throw with guys in their face, so we've got to work to improve all those things. It's not just the O-line, it's an 11-man operation and every group has a piece of it. Quarterback, the O-line, the running backs in protection, the receivers with their routes. Everyone has a piece to it, it's not just always one group, although sometimes it may look like that."
Kafka has experience developing young quarterbacks. He was the Kansas City Chiefs' quarterbacks coach in 2018-19, Patrick Mahomes' first two seasons as the starter, and added passing game coordinator to his title in his final two seasons with the team (2020-21).
"I'd say in my experience with the quarterback room is those young guys, you're trying to put them in a position where they understand – like they're going through their checklist," Kafka said. "You're looking at the shot clock, you're looking at the guys in the huddle, you're looking at the personnel groupings that's in your own huddle, what's on the other side of the football, you're evaluating who's on what side of the ball. You're looking at corner, you're looking at linebacker, you're looking at matchups. Then all of a sudden you break the huddle and you've got a million things you've got to check out. Who the mike (linebacker) is, who the protection responsibilities are, making sure our guys are aligned in the right spot, then you're checking the clock again. There's a whole checklist and a thought process. That's really even before the snap, so all those things are happening.
"For a young player, you try to break it down for them so that they can do it simply, easy and allow them to play fast. For a guy like Tommy, he's going through that process, each and every day. It's not always perfect but you're seeing the growth and you're seeing the development and then you go see him execute in a game like that, do some nice things, throw a touchdown and have some success and that does nothing but just build his confidence."
Catch up on all the action from Tuesday's training camp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
*Jones reiterated what coach Brian Daboll said yesterday, that he will play at some point in the final two preseason games (Friday vs. Carolina and Aug. 26 against the Jets).
"I'm always preparing to play," Jones said. "That's obviously Dabs' call. I think we're all preparing to play, and he'll make a decision on that. He's told us we're going to play in the preseason, so to prepare and get ready to do that."
*Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey began his news conference by saying, "let's just address the 700-pound gorilla in the room, right?"
The gorilla was Daboll's intense stare at McGaughey after Detroit's Maurice Alexander returned a punt 95 yards for a touchdown.
"We all know Dabs is intense and on gameday, that's just him," McGaughey said. "It's not a big deal, it's happened before. That's just part of the game. He's an intense guy, we have no issues. That's just part of football, it's an intense game."
Daboll called the incident a "non-issue" the day after the game.
What was an issue was the Giants having only 10 men on the field for the Alexander's long score.
"This is the process of the preseason, this happens in every game around the league," McGaughey said. "This is not new; this is something that just happens. When you have guys, say for example, a guy that was a starting running back in college. He's used to playing every down, he's running the football, he's catching, he's running the football and then on third down or fourth down, he comes off the field. He's not on the punt team. So, a lot of times when these kids, these young guys, when they get into these competitive environments, muscle memory kicks in. He's used to on third down, if they don't make the first down, what does he do? He's used to going to the bench. Well, it's not like that anymore. Okay, you are on the punt team now. Now you have to go out there and go cover a punt and protect it.
"That's just part of the maturation process of all these young guys, they have to understand that they are not in college anymore, they are not starters, a lot of them are not starters anymore so when there is a fourth-down play, you don't run off the field, you stay on the field and that's just the reality."
*Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale praised the play of inside linebacker Micah McFadden, who is competing with Darrian Beavers for the spot next to Bobby Okereke.
"I'll tell you, I thought Micah played really well in the game," Martindale said. "He did a lot of good things. I think that this is truly Beavers' rookie year because of the ACL (tear, which cost him the 2022 season), and he's missed so many practices that Micah's got a year under his belt. It's a good competition and Micah is definitely leading right now. So, we'll see where that goes and where that takes it."
*Former Giants quarterback Phil Simms and Pro Football Hall of Famer Bill Cowher, the former longtime coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, watched practice. Simms and Cowher are both longtime analysts on CBS' The NFL Today.
*Also in attendance was Anthony Blevins, a Giants assistant coach from 2018-22 who recently left the franchise to become the head coach of the Vegas Vipers of the XFL.
View photos from the Giants' preseason opener against the Lions in Detroit.