Tommy DeVito isn’t supposed to be the New York Giants starting quarterback, at least not in 2023. He really isn’t even really supposed to be on the field right now.
The expectation was that DeVito would spend the 2023 season on the practice squad, develop, and potentially push to be the Giants’ primary backup quarterback in 2024. Then Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor were placed on the injured reserve and the undrafted free agent rookie was suddenly the next man up.
“I think it’s a shock to everybody,” DeVito said on Wednesday. “Not to have one quarterback but two quarterbacks go down, I mean it’s tough. The quarterback position runs the team, and to have one and two go down like that, you would’ve never guessed that to happen. But again, it’s a physical game, injuries happen, it’s part of it, it’s the worst part about the game, but it’s the next man up mentality and like I said before, I’m going to rely on everyone else around me.”
DeVito has been forced into a rough situation, being elevated from the scout team to starter between road trips and on the eve of a matchup against a tough division rival. The good news is that he will have veteran teammates on whom he can rely.
He said, “I’m going to use Daniel and (quarterback) Tyrod, both of them. They’re both still in the meetings, they’re very open with giving me little tidbits of knowledge here and there about plays or little small things that go into it. Obviously, I’m going to use them. They’re both – DJ’s a starting quarterback for a while, Tyrod’s been in the league for 12 to 13 years, whatever it was so those are two great resources. Along with (quarterback) Matt Barkley as well, he’s been in a league for a long time so you know, lean on all those guys around me that have been in this situation before because this is my first start, really my first time playing in this game so I’m going to lean on them as much as I can.”
Being named the starter means some much-needed practice reps for DeVito with the other starters. He had previously been running the scout team and had few opportunities over the preceding months to build a rapport with players like Wan’Dale Robinson or Jalin Hyatt.
“Just to be able to rep the plays that we’re going to be running for the week and be able to throw with the guys I’m going to be throwing to,” DeVito said. “Last week I guess, or a couple times, not really. This is my first time really repping throwing to these receivers, to these guys that I’m going to be throwing to this week so it’s only going to help and build everything that we’ve built up these past two weeks.”
He’ll also be much more involved in the game plan as the Giants’ coaches will need to build around what he likes and does best as a quarterback.
He said that his has been busy on the classroom side of football. DeVito said, “Just watching film, picking their brains, them picking my brain, what I like, what I don’t like, and what they see, what I see, just getting on the same page because we haven’t necessarily had those meetings to build the game plan around me and the players that are on this team with me in it.”
Stepping outside of the classroom and off the practice field, DeVito is facing something fairly staggering. Up until Sunday, he was just a kid from Jersey who played for ‘Cuse and Illinois. Now, he’s going to be the starting quarterback for the New York Giants on the road against their arch-rival the Dallas Cowboys.
For his part, DeVito says it doesn’t bother him, “I mean, I’m not really thinking too much about it, honestly.” Though his family and friends are certainly excited.
“If anything, it’s the outside, you know like the family, the friends, everybody’s that’s been reaching out, I think that’s been kind of the shock of it,” he said. “But for me, it’s football, right? It’s another day, it’s a game that I’ve been playing since I was really young, but it will be my first start in the NFL, so I know it’s going to be some emotion there. Especially with the great supposed atmosphere in Dallas. I have not been, but I heard it’s a really nice stadium so I’m looking forward to it.”