If Andrew Thomas is able to deflect pressure away from Daniel Jones the way Joe Judge deflected pressure away from Andrew Thomas, the Giants could be in a far better place with their offensive line.
Instead, Thomas’ concerning and far-from-confidence-inspiring performance against the Patriots in the preseason finale last week remains a source of concern for those who saw the second-year left tackle in action.
Judge said on Monday that it was not entirely Thomas’s fault.
"It’s funny, sometimes the assessments on the outside don’t really have the entire picture at hand and understanding of all the other 10 pieces," Judge said. "You have to take that with a grain of salt sometimes when you read certain things."
Judge would not go as far as to describe Thomas’ preseason game as good, however.
"Everyone can play better," he said. "I can coach better, the players can play better. That’s why we’re here practicing. If it was a finished product we’d just sit on the side and relax. We’re here to get better."
Thomas practiced on Monday after having his reps cut in Thursday’s practice. "I wouldn’t read too much into that," Judge said of Thomas not working with the starters – or anyone for that matter – late last week, citing his workload as a reason for the inactivity. Thomas underwent offseason foot surgery
"I had a long camp, a lot of practices, a lot of good practices," Thomas said, adding that he did not see those three drives against the Patriots as a step backward in his development but rather a "learning experience."
"I went back over the tape, corrected some things, and it’s on to the season," he said.
On to the Broncos, with their menacing pass rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Thomas said Miller is "one of the greatest of all time" but he expects to face Chubb more often on the left side.
"He has a lot of power coming off the edge off his speed rush, so you have to have a good punch," Thomas said. "You have to reach with your hands well. Then he also has a long arm that he counters with a dip and spins inside sometimes. Just being really square in your stance and having power in your punch [is the key], I would say."
If Thomas can do that with any measure of success on Sunday, all of the criticism of him and the offensive line will go away. If he can’t, then it will be up to Judge to block for Thomas for another week.