Eli Manning is benched, but DeMarcus Lawrence’s taunts of the Giants are not.
The Cowboys’ loud-mouthed pass-rusher this week called rookie quarterback Daniel Jones “another little Manning.”
Is that praise or a jab? Hard to tell.
“I appreciate that,” Jones said with a wry smile. “That was nice of him to say.”
It became a rite of Giants-Cowboys game weeks in recent years for Lawrence to target Manning. The gist of the comments is always the same: He is easy to sack.
It even spilled over into offseasons, when Lawrence thanked the Giants for not drafting a quarterback to replace Manning in 2018 and then joked about sending Manning some candy for helping him land an endorsement deal.
“I feel like they did a great job getting another Eli,” Lawrence told reporters ahead of Monday night’s rivalry game. “Eli is probably a soon-to-be Hall of Fame player. He’s won Super Bowls. You can’t sit here and say Eli is a bad player. But age does catch up to us. I guess it caught up to him. They got another one, another little Manning. It’ll be good for them.”
Jones heard through the grapevine about Lawrence’s remarks but wasn’t debriefed by Manning about what to expect from Lawrence.
“I haven’t asked Eli about that, and Eli hasn’t said anything,” the more elusive Jones said. “I’m excited to play. It’s a divisional game, a big game.”
Lawrence had four sacks and 10 quarterback hits in nine career games against Manning, according to Pro Football Reference. He has 3.5 sacks in eight games this season, after totaling 25 over the previous two years to cash in on a five-year, $105 million contract.
Jones has been sacked 21 times, including four times each by two of the best pass-rushers in the NFL in Chandler Jones (Cardinals) and Shaq Barrett (Buccaneers). this season. Are players giving him the rookie treatment by trash-talking as he lays on the turf?
“Not too much, really,” Jones said. “It happens, but not too much.”
Sterling Shepard and Corey Ballentine both practiced in full Thursday for the first time since suffering their respective concussions. The only step in the NFL-governed protocol that remains before both can return to action against the Cowboys is to be cleared by an independent neurologist.
The Giants signed left-footed punter Sean Smith to the practice squad to help their returners prepare for Cowboys lefty Chris Jones.
The Giants did not make a similar roster move in Week 4 against the Redskins, and T.J. Jones muffed two of lefty Tress Way’s punts. Jones was cut a few days later.
“[The ball] spins opposite,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “Depending on where the tip of the ball is, up or down, how it drops away from you or carries away from you is absolutely opposite of a right-footed punter. That’s why, in this case, we brought in Smith to simulate that.”
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