EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Maybe Daniel Jones was avoiding the questions.
Or maybe the New York Giants franchise quarterback really wasn’t clear about his answers.
On Wednesday after the Giants’ practice, Jones fielded a series of questions about the torn ACL he suffered three days earlier. his future with the franchise, which gave him a $160 million contract last spring; and the prediction of when and where he will return to football.
Jones offered little insight.
Because so little is currently known about the quarterback that the Giants selected with the sixth overall pick in 2019.
Jones doesn’t know when he will need surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament. The schedule for the procedure depends on when the swelling in his knee goes down and range of motion is restored.
Jones hasn’t necessarily claimed that the 2-7 Giants, en route to a high draft pick in a quarterback-studded class led by Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, have made a verbal commitment to his long-term future. New York extended him in March but essentially structured a two-season exit from the contract when they guaranteed $81 million of the $160 million consideration. Jones’ salary is not guaranteed after 2024.
Has head coach Brian Daboll told Jones he has a future in New York if he’s healthy?
“The conversations I had with [Daboll] “It was mostly just about healing this injury, recovering and staying optimistic and positive,” Jones said. “I’m going to do everything I can to help this team and make sure we finish strong.”
And on that note, helping the Giants, when might Jones be able to help them again from the field rather than the sideline?
The quarterback admitted that ACL repair is “quite a long process” and requires patience. Therefore, he will focus more on the order of the steps than on their duration. Jones would not confirm whether he is expected to be ready for Week 1 of the 2024 season.
“I’m going to take it one day at a time and try to take all the necessary steps in the appropriate amount of time to get back as quickly as possible while understanding that it’s a process and I have to be patient,” Jones said. “I don’t know exactly when that will be.”
So the Giants have an undrafted rookie for now.
How the Giants landed on an undrafted rookie QB
On Wednesday, the Giants promoted veteran journeyman Matt Barkley from the practice squad to the active roster. The team signed quarterback Jacob Eason to the practice squad. And Daboll confirmed that undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito will start in a divisional game with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
DeVito, who spent four seasons at Syracuse before starting at Illinois in 2022, knows how wild that is. He has played two substitute games this year. But NFL history doesn’t predict that undrafted rookie quarterbacks are likely to start. Addressing reporters Wednesday from his makeshift locker in the practice squad in the middle of the locker room, DeVito joked he would “stick to my roots” instead of switching to a permanent locker on the wall. If someone had told DeVito before the season that he would be named the starter by November, he would have thought, “Some bad things were probably bound to happen.”
DeVito’s first NFL action came on October 29 in a turbulent game between the Giants and the New York Jets after quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffered a chest injury. DeVito completed two of seven attempts for a net loss of 1 yard. He ran four times for 12 yards and a touchdown.
Jones returned to the starting lineup last Sunday after a neck injury, seemingly signaling the return of stability for New York behind center. But on the final play of the first quarter, Jones tried to cut the ball, then felt his knee move and give out. He tried to continue playing, but on the next dropback his knee gave out before he could release a pass.
DeVito was called into action and played three full possessions before halftime. The first was a threesome. The next two resulted in interceptions. DeVito and his teammates found more rhythm in the third quarter, including an 11-play, 84-yard touchdown drive that DeVito capped by rolling to his right and hitting Wan’Dale Robinson in the back right corner of the end zone for a 9th – Yard touchdown.
Overall, he completed 15 of 20 attempts for 175 yards and a passer rating of 78.1 against the Raiders’ defense ranks 20th in defensive DVOA.
This week, DeVito faces the Cowboys, whose defense ranks fourth in DVOA.
How Tommy DeVito prepares for the Cowboys-Giants
Tuesday is typically NFL players’ day off each week.
DeVito spent Tuesday at the Giants facility preparing for his debut professional start.
“I just watch a movie, ask myself what I like, what I don’t like and what they see,” DeVito said. “I’m just getting on the same page because we haven’t necessarily had those meetings to develop the game plan for me and the players on this team with me.”
DeVito said Wednesday was his first chance to throw with more intent and communication to receivers like Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt and Paris Campbell.
“When you’re in the game, it’s a little bit like ‘figure it out,'” DeVito said. “You have no relationship with them whatsoever.”
On Sunday, after the walkthroughs and drills, he may not have much left, but at least he will have more.
Jones continued to attend meetings this week, leading DeVito in film sessions about what to look for, what the defense is doing and how to make the plays he has less experience with. DeVito can lean on the 39 college games he played in, the 594 passes he attempted (he completed 63.1%) while throwing 43 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
DeVito feels the emotions rising in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, the 4.5-square-mile city where he grew up and lives again, as he plays for the Giants. When he went out for pizza this week, the townspeople congratulated him.
But when DeVito takes the field against the Cowboys, he will try to minimize emotions and prepare for his next play, his next read and his next assignment. The advantage of the first team representatives does not reassure the oddsmakers. BetMGM lists the Giants as 16.5-point underdogs in a week in which no other spread exceeds 7.5 points. DeVito says he will fall back on a mantra from his time at Syracuse.
“Rule No. 1: Don’t panic,” DeVito said. “Don’t ask about Rule #2, because if you ask what Rule #2 is, you haven’t listened to Rule #1.”