FRISCO, TX — When the battle gets underway on Sunday at AT&T Stadium, it will mark the second time this season wherein the Dallas Cowboys will face off against the New York Giants, but it will be the first time that quarterback Tommy DeVito has taken the field as an NFL starter.
With both Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor on injured reserve, and though the Giants signed Matt Barkley this week, the onus goes to DeVito — an undrafted rookie out of Illinois — to try and deliver a massive upset against the Cowboys.
And he'll have to do it against arguably the best pass rush in the league.
Advantage Cowboys, sure, but Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence says Dallas is making sure they're not getting out ahead of their skis this weekend, because DeVito does have the mobility to make it a long day.
"We wanna seize the opportunity in front of us," said Lawrence on Friday. "We gotta stick to the game plan. We can't just go out there with our eyes big. … We want to have fun but stay inside of our game plan."
And what exactly is that plan?
"Don't let him try to use his legs the whole game," he said.
DeVito was a transfer to Illinois from Syracuse and, for both schools, he used his legs whenever given the opportunity. As a sophomore, he rushed more than 100 times from the quarterback position and more than 70 times in his final collegiate campaign.
That is to state the obvious: the Cowboys need to keep him in the pocket, where they can then potentially rack up sacks, much in the same way they did in their seven-sack outing against Jones in the regular season opener.
The Giants are spiraling due to adversity and injury, but in a divisional matchup, there really is no letting up by Cowboys' opponents, as they've learned time and again.
Additionally, having dropped a close one to the Philadelphia Eagles the week prior and looking to extend an 11-game win streak at home, they can't afford to play down to competition.
"We can't focus on a team's record, or them," Lawrence said. "It's really about us and how we go out and play the game each and every week — dominating our role and going out there like a brotherhood."