The New York Giants’ final preseason game of the off-season against the New England Patriots didn’t go as planned. Second-year left tackle Andrew Thomas had a problematic outing, allowing one sack, one hit, one hurry, and three pressures over 39 snaps. His unfortunate performance drew plenty of negative responses from the fan base and media, justifiably so.
However, Thomas was dealing with something that clearly hampered him against the Patriots, as he eyes a healthier Week 1 against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com spoke with Andrew Thomas’s personal mentor, who revealed an interesting piece of information:
“You really have to know the reason why he came out looking sluggish,” said Kevin Johnson, Thomas’ mentor. “He could hardly breathe. One thing I told him was: ‘You’ve got guts, and you’ve got cajones, because most guys would fold.’ Most guys would say: ‘All right, I’m not playing.’”
Considering the fact that Thomas played sick in the game, one might come to the conclusion that he is stronger than previously advertised after the difficult performance. Last season, Thomas struggled due to an ankle injury and a rotation of offensive line coaches — queue the Marc Colombo V Joe Judge Rocky music. He allowed 10 sacks, 39 hurries, and 57 pressures over the course of the season. However, he had a few stellar outings, notably against the Cincinnati Bengals and Seattle Seahawks, where he didn’t allow any sacks or pressures on Daniel Jones.
It is clear that Thomas is capable of being a quality player but simply needs more continuity and to work on his base fundamentals, like staying square and landing jabs on opposing pass rushers. He will have a tough test in Week 1 against Von Miller and the Broncos, who have one of the more experienced and dangerous pass rushers in the game.
The Giants’ offense relies entirely on the success of the line, so Thomas taking a step forward is essential if Daniel Jones wants to develop his game and coin himself the franchise quarterback of the team moving forward.
However, it should provide some sense of optimism, knowing that Thomas played through an illness that hurt his ability to breathe and play at full speed. Of course, we would like to alleviate the excuses and have him at 100%.
Judge did indicate this week that the outside assessment on players can often be wrong, which was the case for the Georgia product:
“It’s funny, sometimes the assessments on the outside don’t really have the entire picture at hand and understanding all the other 10 pieces that go together,” Judge said. “So, you’ve got to take that with a grain of salt sometimes when you read certain things. Now look, everyone can play better. I can coach better, a player can play better. That’s why we’re here today practicing. If it was a finished product, we’d just sit on the side and just relax. We’re all here to get better today.”
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