'Tommy earned it': DeVito to remain Giants' QB vs. Packers

December 5, 2023, 1:19 PM

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants will continue with Tommy DeVito as their starting quarterback for Monday night's matchup at MetLife Stadium against the Packers, according to coach Brian Daboll.

The Giants (4-8) had a decision to make with veteran Tyrod Taylor likely ready to return from a rib cage injury. But DeVito has won two of his past three starts, and they decided to stick with the undrafted rookie for at least one more week.

"I just thought Tommy earned it," Daboll said. "Went back, watched all the tape, thought he played two good games. Obviously there are things we can all work on. Thought he earned the right to play."

Taylor practiced and had his 21-day window to be activated off injured reserve opened Monday. He will serve as the backup to DeVito, assuming he gets through the week healthy and is cleared by doctors for game action.

The veteran was clearly "disappointed" that he wasn't going to start but understood that these kind of difficult decisions -- which he has been on the wrong side of now several times in his career -- were part of the game, part of the business.

"It's tough. It's disappointing. But it's also out of my control," Taylor said.

The thought was that when Taylor was healthy he would step in as the starter after  Daniel Jones tore his right ACL on Nov. 5 against the Las Vegas Raiders. But DeVito's recent play has opened some eyes and even has the Giants believing he gives them the best chance to win at the moment.

"Every decision we make is for that reason," Daboll said.

DeVito has thrown six touchdown passes and one interception in his starts against the Cowboys, Patriots and Commanders. Given the Giants' two-game win streak, it was almost expected they would continue in this direction with development of their younger players among the top priorities.

"I wasn't surprised," DeVito said. "At the same time, I didn't know what was going to happen. I was told during the bye week there was a decision that was going to be made. And as soon as there was a decision, I would be made aware. And I was. I'm happy about it, but at the same time it's a job. You still have to go out and perform. It's not like you're at the top now, which I'm completely far from, but I'm just going to go out and get better each and every day and try to earn the respect of my teammates, my coaches and try to do that every play."

Having DeVito start is a move that is sure to appease a good portion of the hometown fans. He's a local legend, having won a state championship at powerhouse Don Bosco Prep High School and been born and raised in New Jersey.

The past few weeks have even started somewhat of a DeVito craze, in part because of his local ties and Italian heritage. A recent appearance had hundreds of fans waiting in line in the cold and coming with all kinds of obscure requests, including signing autographs with the nickname they made for him, "Tommy Cutlets."

DeVito and several Giants players have celebrated touchdowns by waving the Italian hand gesture with two pinched fingers in the air. Players such as star running back Saquon Barkley have even started using the name Tommy Cutlets and yelling "Jersey!" in his presence.

"I think Tommy has done a good job," Daboll said. "He's improved in each of the games he's played. I thought he played well the last two games. Made good decisions, was accurate with the football and earned the right to play."

It's a long way from his NFL debut against the Jets, when he had minus-1 yard passing.

Taylor, 34, was starting in place of injured Jones when he was hurt trying to escape pressure in that loss to the Jets. He has been throwing and running on the side the past few weeks in anticipation of a return.

Taylor revealed during his first news conference with the media since the injury that he suffered four broken ribs, two of which were displaced. That put his internal organs in danger and prompted the projected six-week absence.

After the bye week, he's eligible to return from injured reserve and believes he's ready to play.

"I feel good," Taylor said. "It's the most important thing. Everything I've done rehab-wise has been positive. ... Feel back to my normal self."

When asked whether he was surprised when told of the decision, Taylor replied with a "no comment." It was one of several questions he passed on answering.

It's not the first time in Taylor's career that unfortunate timing and injury have sent him to the bench. A concussion opened the door for rookie Baker Mayfield to supplant him as the starter with the Browns. A punctured lung as the result of a misplaced painkilling shot put him permanently on the bench behind rookie Justin Herbert with the Chargers. And now, broken ribs have him expecting to sit behind DeVito upon his return.

So much for the saying: You can't lose your starting job to injury.

"I've had that happen a number of times. I'd say that statement is false," Taylor said. "It's just the nature of the business. The nature of the business. This league is a right-now league. It's not a what have you done in the past. It's what makes sense right now and coach feels this is the right decision for the team. I support the decisions that our coaches make, that our personnel people make. ... I'm just on the other end of it. It's tough.

"Obviously as a competitor not being able to go out there once healthy, it hurts. But at the same time, it's the nature of the business."