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Sent: 11-10-2023

E-GIANTS
Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he was one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls up until last year. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.

DE VITO PLUNGES INTO STARTING ROLE AGAINST THE COWBOYS

By Dave Klein
There are probably worse places for an undrafted rookie quarterback to find himself on a Sunday afternoon during the NFL season.

You know, like the Roman Coliseum, for instance. Or like on the deck of a submarine preparing to dive. Maybe on top of the Empire State Building with a wind whipping at 75 m.p.h.

Or, in the case of Giants' quarterback Tommy DeVito, how about on the field at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., with the Dallas Cowboys on the other side as he makes his first-ever start?

Yes, that's exactly what the kid from Livingston, N.J., who attended Don Bosco Prep and then played collegiate football at the University of Illinois and Syracuse, will face Sunday at 4:35.

Daniel Jones is out for the season. His backup, veteran Tyrod Taylor, is on the Injured Reserve list. The only other quarterback on the active roster (for now) is free agent pickup, Matt Barkley.

It would appear, although the Giants never wanted it, that their quarterback situation is down to this. And the kid who has never started an NFL game, who has seen action in the Giants' last two outings, will have to find a way to take his 2-7 team past the 5-3 Cowboys, who are favored by 17 points - the season's largest point spread.

This will be the Giants' second meeting with the Cowboys this season. They lost the first one - the opening weekend in MetLife Stadium - by the somewhat embarrassing score of 40-0.

Head coach Brian Daboll was asked what he felt is the most important factor in starting an inexperienced rookie against a powerhouse defense like the one he'll face Sunday.

"You talk about it with those guys early in the week," he said. "The biggest thing is that 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] Kafka, coming out and practicing well and just controlling the things that he can do, and doing his job well."

In response to a reporter's question, DeVito said the number one rule he is following is "don't panic," and Daboll agrees that the kid has performed well in that assignment. "I think he's done a good job of doing everything he can to the point of preparing the right way, both in the classroom, his extra time [with the coaches] and on the field."

That's all well and good, coach, but there is no way the original plan was to start DeVito and privately the way the situation developed must have been nightmarish.

Daboll, one more time: "He has spent a lot of time with the coaches, trying to make sure that he's on point to do his job well. Again, that's a challenging ask for any quarterback. He has done everything he can throughout the week to prepare himself."

It probably wouldn't do much good to remind DeVito that this is the same game he's been playing since he was a kid. "Well, it is," Daboll added, "but he's just playing against a dang good opponent."

Well, the kid wasn't part of that 40-0 rout on opening day, so how much worse can he do?

EXTRA POINTS - In his two appearances this season, DeVito has completed 17 of 27 passes for 174 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He has also been sacked eight times

. Three players have been declared OUT for the game - CB Adoree Jackson, RB Deon Jackson and G-T Evan Neal. five more have earned the QUESTIONABLE designation - WR Parris Campbell, RB Jashaun Corbin, G Mark Glowinski and LB Azeez Ojulari.

Talking about one-sided, the Cowboys have won 12 of the last 13 meetings against the Giants.

davesklein@aol.com

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