The scope of Andrew Thomas’ concern used to be limited to Andrew Thomas.
As a rookie and second-year player, the Giants’ left tackle would delve mostly into his own film to see where he struggled and how he could improve. This year, though, not only is Thomas the steadiest lineman on the team – and one of the best tackles in the league by many measures – he also is a captain. That means his purview has expanded to the other 80% of the unit.
“My focus is not on myself but the whole offensive line to perform better,” Thomas said Wednesday. “As an offensive line we all have to play well together and that’s what I am working on now… The whole offensive line, we understand we didn’t play to the caliber we wanted to [Monday against the Cowboys].”
It’s why Thomas “definitely talked” to rookie Evan Neal after his nightmarish performance against the Cowboys in which he allowed three sacks and had a costly false start penalty. He encouraged Neal, the seventh overall pick in April, to have a short-term memory but also understand how future opponents will try to exploit the errors he made against Dallas.
“It’s not easy, especially coming from college where you dominate and you are really good,” Thomas said of Neal’s adjustment to the NFL. “It’s frustrating. But I think he has a good attitude about it. He is always asking me about different pointers and asking questions in the meetings trying to get better every day. I think he has the right mindset… He’s a talented kid with all the tools in the world. I’m confident in him.”
Thomas made it clear he still sees flaws in his own game despite the accolades and high grades he has been receiving.
“There are some plays I wish I could have back, some things I could do a little bit better to help out my teammates,” he said.
Now, though, he has the standing and the wisdom to weave those observations into the bigger picture.
“That’s the beauty of offensive line,” Thomas said. “Four guys can be doing their job perfectly and if one guy doesn’t it’s a bad play.”
Thomas hasn’t been that “one guy” very often so far this season, but it is part of his new job description to help the ones who are.
Notes & quotes: The Giants did not practice on Wednesday due to the short week after a Monday game but their projected injury report indicated WRs Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) and Kadarius Toney (hamstring) would not have participated in a workout. The eventual return of those two players seems key to overcoming the loss of Sterling Shepard, who tore his ACL in Monday’s game . . . Two new players popped up on the injury report: CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf) and LB Jihad Ward (knee) . . . Two CBs are “trending up” in their return from injury, coach Brian Daboll said. Aaron Robinson (appendix) and Justin Layne (concussion) were listed as limited and could be cleared to play by Sunday . . . The Giants put Shepard on injured reserve and signed CB Fabian Moreau from their practice squad. They also added CB Olaijah Griffin and WR Makai Polk to the practice squad.