Giants News | New York Giants –

5 Things We Learned

Presented by

5 Things We Learned: Tommy DeVito 'growing every day'


The Giants will travel to Landover, Md., to take on the Commanders in Week 11.

The two teams met just a few weeks ago, with the Giants pulling out the 14-7 victory in the divisional matchup. However, both teams have made personnel changes over the last few weeks, giving Sunday's game a different look than the one that took place at MetLife Stadium in Week 7.

Giants coordinators Wink Martindale, Mike Kafka and Thomas McGaughey met with the media Thursday for their weekly press conferences.

Here are five things we learned from the coordinators.

1. DeVito 'growing every day'

After coming in for the injured Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor in each of the last two games, respectively, DeVito got the first start of his NFL career this past Sunday. The undrafted rookie was faced with a difficult matchup as the Giants took on the elite Cowboys defense. DeVito finished the game 14 of 27 for 86 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and added 41 yards on seven rush attempts. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka told the media Thursday that he was encouraged with the development of the young quarterback.

"I think each day he comes in to work the right way," said Kafka. "In the meeting room, in the classroom, in the install on the field. He's growing every day, he's learning. I think he's taken steps in the right direction as far as his footwork, the huddle command, going through his progressions, even the protection game, so there are a bunch of elements of his game that he's improving each day."

The Commanders rank 31st in points and 29th in yards allowed. The Commanders are coming off a game against the Seahawks in which they allowed a season-high 489 total yards of offense, including 369 passing yards and two touchdowns to Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith.

View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 11 matchup against the Washington Commanders.

2. Wink: Defense must 'stay consistent'

Last week, the Giants allowed 49 points and 640 total yards of offense. The point total was the most the Giants have allowed since 2017, while the yardage total was the second-most ever allowed in franchise history. The Cowboys, who sport a top five offense in both points and yards, also picked up 32 first downs. When speaking to the media Thursday, defensive coordinator Wink Martindale was upfront about his unit's performance.

"It was tough. It doesn't happen very often, or you wouldn't have this job very long so, you know, it was a tough game," Martindale said about allowing 640 yards of offense. "It was really a tough game, but like I said I give Dallas credit. It was one of those games that you make a call, and you feel real good about it until the ball is snapped and then you are like, 'Oh, no.' You know? It was a tough one for all of us."

Despite last week's struggles, the defense still ranks well when it comes to key situations. Prior to the game in Dallas, the defense held the Raiders, Jets and Commanders to a combined eight of 44 (18.2 percent) on third down. Despite the Cowboys' success, the Giants' defense still ranks eighth in the NFL with a third down defense of 35.4 percent. We'll see if Wink Martindale's unit can get back on track against the Commanders this weekend, whose offense enters the matchup ranking 21st in third down conversions. Washington went 1 for 15 on third down in Week 7.

"We've hit the reset button, and we are getting ready to go play a better Washington team than we played 24, 25 days ago, how many days ago it's been," the defensive coordinator said. "It's going to be a tough challenge for us. I think (Commanders quarterback) Sam's (Howell) playing a lot better. He's getting rid of the ball quicker. I think that he's starting to find the answers that (Commanders offensive coordinator) Eric (Bieniemy) has in his offense...

"I think that you've got to stay consistent, and you do challenge them, you challenge them every week and the challenge is Washington's offense and this league, there is no easy outs, you know what I mean? They are going to step on your throat if they think you're down."

3. McFadden continuing to develop

One of the bright spots on the defense this season has undoubtedly been the play of Micah McFadden. The second-year inside linebacker has already topped his rookie year marks with 60 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, two passes defensed and three takeaways (one interception, two fumble recoveries). Additionally, Pro Football Focus has McFadden down for 11 total pressures, almost twice as many as he picked up in his first season (six). The 23-year-old has started nine games this year, and Martindale said the young linebacker has done well in making the most of his opportunities.

"I think he has developed and credit to him, the hard work he's put in, the hard work he put in the offseason," said the defensive coordinator. "He's got more confidence and I think (inside linebacker) Bobby (Okereke) has a lot to do with Micah's development as well. Egs (inside linebackers coach John Egoruwu) has done a great job with all those guys in that room but Micah, he's done a nice job of taking the opportunity and running with it. And you know, he'd be the first to tell you he still has things he wants to work on and get better at as well and that's one of the reasons why he's improving."

As Martindale mentioned, one reason for McFadden's improved play is the presence of Bobby Okereke. The veteran linebacker, who lines up next to McFadden, has been the model of consistency. Okereke has not missed a single defensive snap all season and ranks eighth in the NFL with 91 total tackles. PFF has also given Okereke an 80.0 grade in coverage, the eighth-highest mark among all linebackers.

While the veteran did not participate in practice on Wednesday, head coach Brian Daboll told the media that it was more of a rest day for the linebacker. Okereke was back on the practice field Thursday and was listed as a limited participant.

4. Injury updates; Thibodeaux, Hyatt progressing

The Giants had six players not participating in the first practice of the week Wednesday. We already touched on Okereke above, while defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence is in a similar boat. Lawrence received his weekly rest day but was back on the field in full Thursday.

Three of the other players that sat out Wednesday are progressing through the concussion protocol – outside linebacker Kavyon Thibodeaux, wide receiver Jalin Hyatt and cornerback Adoree' Jackson. Daboll told the media prior to the start of Thursday's practice that Thibodeaux and Hyatt each advanced to the next step in the protocol and were listed as limited. However, Jackson is behind the other two and did not participate in Thursday's practice. Meanwhile, running back Deon Jackson, who was listed as a full participant on Wednesday, cleared the concussion protocol.

Additionally, right tackle Evan Neal was also a nonparticipant in practice for the second consecutive day. Neal previously missed Weeks 7 and 8 with an ankle injury but returned in Week 9. He then suffered an injury to his other ankle, which sidelined him for every practice leading into Week 10.

Meanwhile, safeties Xavier McKinney (rib) and Jason Pinnock (thumb/ankle) were both upgraded to full participants on Thursday, as was DeVito (left shoulder). Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence was also back on the practice field as a full participant following his rest day Wednesday.

5. Latest on the kickers

Following the placement of Graham Gano on injured reserve, the Giants added two kickers. Over the last two outings, the team has elevated veteran Randy Bullock from the practice squad to serve as the active kicker on gameday. Bullock connected on his only field goal attempt from 40 yards out, while making both extra point attempts, as well.

"Randy's been Randy," said special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey. "He's done a good job. Randy's a veteran kicker. He's been around for a long time. He's played a lot of games. He's been a pro. He's come out, he's done a good job. We're just working through the process of the whole process, the new mechanics of everything. So, been good."

With Bullock elevated the last two games, Cade York has been inactive. While the 22-year-old has yet to appear in a game with the Giants, McGaughey is encouraged with the growth he's seen out of the young kicker since arriving in East Rutherford.

"Cade's very, very, very talented. Very young, talented kicker. Cade's working through some things with his swing, but he's getting better. He has a very strong leg, very talented and he has a lot of upside, for sure."

As for who will be active on gameday, McGaughey said the team will approach the kicker situation for Week 11 the same way they have the last few games.

"Same as last week," said the special teams coordinator. "They're going to kick again. They'll kick again today, they'll kick tomorrow, and we'll make a decision this weekend."

View photos from the all-time series between the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.


Giants App

Download the Giants' official app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices